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Bishop of Saint Agatha, and Founder of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Redeemer. 




Priest of the Congregation of the IMost Holy Redeemer. 

Volume IX. 







18 vols., Price, per vol., net, $1.25. 

book is complete in itself, and any volume ivill be 
sold separately. 


I. PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; or, Considerations on the Eter 
nal Truths. Maxims of Eternity Rule of Life. Ready 



Pious Reflections. Spiritual Treatises. 

Prayer. Mental of a Retreat. 

Choice of a State of Life, and the Vocation to the 

Religious State and to the Priesthood. 
" IV., V., VI. THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH : i. Incarnation, 

Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ. 2. The Redemption, 

Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. 3. The Holy 

Eucharist, Sacrifice, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. 

Practice of Love of Jesus Christ. Novena to the Holy Ghost. 
" VII., VIII. GLORIES OF MARY : i. Explanation of the Salve 

Regina, or Hail, Holy Queen. Discourses on the Feasts 

of Mary. 2. Her Dolors. Her Virtues. Practices. 

Examples. Answers to Critics. Devotion to the Holy 

Angels. Devotion to St. Joseph. Novena to St. Teresa. 

Novena for the Repose of the Souls in Purgatory. 
IX. VICTORIES OF THE MARTYRS; or, the Lives of the Most 

Celebrated Martyrs of the Church. 

sixteen Chapters. 2. The last eight Chapters. Appends 

and various small Works. Spiritual Letters. 

Instructions about the Religious State. Letters and 

Circulars. Lives of two Fathers and of a Lay-brother. 

Material for Ecclesiastical Retreats. Rule of Life and 

Spiritual Rules. 
" XIV. THE HOLY MASS : Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Ceremonies 

of the Mass, Preparation and Thanksgiving. The Mass 

and the Office that are hurriedly said. 
" XV. THE DIVINE OFFICE : Translation of the Psalms and 

XVI. PREACHING: The Exercises of the Missions. Various 

Counsels. Instructions on the Commandments and 



"XVIII. VARIOUS SMALL WORKS: Discourses on Calamities. Reflec 
tions useful for Bishops. Seminaries. Ordinances. 

Letters. General alphabetical index. 

Benziger Brothers, New York, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. 








Doctor of the Church. 



Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 


Prinlt rs to the Holy Apostolic Sec. 





By virtue of the authority granted me by the Most Rev. Nicholas 
Mauron, Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer, I hereby sanction the publication of the work entitled 
the " Victories of the Martyrs," which is Vol. IX. of the new and 
complete edition in English of the works of Saint Alphonsus de 
Liguori, called "The Centenary Edition." 


Sup. Prov. Baltimorensis. 

September 29, 1887. 

JAN 23 

Copyright. i88d, by p- IAS FKEDEKICK SCHAI 






INTRODUCTION. Useful reflections by which we may derive great 
fruit from the reading of the combats and the victories of the 
martyrs. I. Virtues practised by the holy martyrs in the 
combats that they had to sustain against their persecutors, 23. 
II. The advantages of devout meditation on the virtues that 
the martyrs practised during their sufferings, 34. Prayer to 
the holy martyrs to obtain their protection, 40. III. The 
various tortures to which the martyrs were subjected, 41. 





I. St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch 49 

II. SS. Juhtta, and Quiricus, her son 54 

III. St. Vincent, deacon 57 

IV. SS. Agricola and Vitalis of Bologna 62 

V. St. Vitalis of Ravenna 64 

VI. St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna 66 

VII. SS. Theodora, virgin, and Didymus 70 

VIII. SS. Philip, bishop of Heraclea, and his two compan 
ions, Severus and Hermes . 74 

IX. St. James, surnamed Intercisus 80 

X. St. Afra, penitent . . 82 

XI. St. Sabinus, bishop of Spoleto, and his companions. 87 

XII. St. Euplius, deacon go 

XIII. St. Theodotus. vintner 92 

XIV. SS. Trypho and Respicius 97 


XV SS. Romanus, deacon, and Barulas, the infant martyr, 100 

XVI. St. Crispina ]<>(> 

XVII. SS. Dionysia, Majoricus, her son, and other holy mar 
tyrs or confessors in the persecution raised in Africa 

by the Vandals 108 

XVIII. SS. Phileas, bishop of Thmuis, and Philoromus, 

tribune 112 

XIX. St. Dionysia, virgin, with SS. Andrew and Paul of 

Lampsacus 1 16 

XX. St. Febronia, virgin 118 

XXI. St. Arcadius 121 

XXII. St. Justin, philosopher 123 

XXIII St. Agatha, virgin 131 

XXIV. SS. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople; 

Tygrius, priest; and Eutropius, lector 134 

XXV. St. Pionius, priest 141 

XXVI. St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague 145 

XXVII. SS. James, deacon ; Marianus, lector; and compan 
ions 148 

XXVIII. St. Lucy, virgin 152 

XXIX. SS. Theodorus and Nicholas, abbots of Studius ..... 156 

XXX. SS. Eulalia and Julia, virgins 160 

XXXI. St. Pollio, lector 163 

XXXII. SS. Apian and ^Edesius, brothers 164 

XXXIII. St. Gordius, centurion 167 

XXXIV. SS. Chrysogonus, priest, and Anastasia, widow 169 

XXXV. SS. Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona, and his two 

deacons, Augurius and Eulogius 175 

XXXVI. St. Irenaeus, bishop of Sirmium 178 

XXXVII. SS. Cecilia, virgin ; Valerian, her husband ; Tibur- 

tius, her brother-in-law; and Maximus, officer 182 

XXXVIII. St. Agnes, virgin " 189 

XXXIX. SS. Simeon, archbishop of Seleucia ; Usthazades .and 

and Pusikius; and their companions 193 

XL. SS. Lucius, Montanus, Flavian, and their companions, 

disciples of St. Cyprian 197 

XLI. SS. Epipodius and Alexander of Lyons 200 

XLII. St. Leo of Patara 204 

XLIII. St. Basil of Ancyra, priest 207 

XLIV. SS. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons ; Sanctus, deacon ; 
Alexander, physician; Veitius Epagathus, Maturus, 
Attalus of Pergamus, Biblis, Blandina, and their 

companions 213 



XLV. St. Alban, first martyr of Great Britain ............. 217 

XLVI. St. Peter of Lampsacus ........................... 219 

XLVII. St. Cyril, child .................................. 219 

XLVIII. SS. Potamiena, virgin; Marcella, her mother; and 

Basilides, soldier ................. .............. 221 

XLIX. SS. Nicander and Marcian, soldiers ................ 223 

L. St. Gallican, a Roman general, with SS John and 
Paul, officers ................. ................. 

LI. St. Theodore of Amasea, called the young soldier. .. 
LI I SS. Perpetua and Felicitas of Carthage, with SS. Re- 

vocatus, Saturninus, Secundulus, and Saturus .... 232 

LIII. SS. George, deacon ; Aurelius, Natalia, Felix, Liliosa 

of Corduba ........ .... .................. ..... 236 

LIV. SS. Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus, martyred in 

Cilicia ........................................ 240 

LV. St. Quirinus, bishop of Siscia ..................... 247 

LVI. St. Blase, bishop of Sebaste ....................... 250 

LVII. SS. Anastasia, virgin, and Cyril of Rome .......... 254 

LVI II. SS. Victor, officer; Alexander, Felicianus, Longinus, 

soldiers, of Marseilles ........................... 257 

LIX. SS. Peter, Dorotheus, and Gorgonius, chamberlains. 261 
LX. SS. Timothy, lector, and Maura, his wife ........... 263 

LXI. SS. Sixtus II., Pope ; Laurence, deacon ; Romanus, 

soldier ...................................... 265 

LXII. St. Sebastian, officer; and the two brothers, Marcus 

and Marcellianus ............................. 270 

LXI 1 1. SS. Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus .............. 272 

LXIV. SS. Mammas ; Theodotus, his father : Rufina, his 

mother; and Amya ............ . ................ 275 

LXV. SS. Januarius, bishop of Benevento ; Sosius, Procu- 
lus, Festus, deacons ; Didier, lector ; Eutychius, 
Acutius ..................................... 280 

LXVI. SS. Faith, virgin, Caprais, Primus, and Felician ____ . 288 

LXVII. St. Genesius, comedian ............................ 291 

LXVIII. St. Hippolytus, priest ............................. 293 

LXIX. St. Symphorian ................................. 296 

LXX. SS. Bonosius and Maximilian, officers .............. 298 

LXXI. SS. Liberatus, abbot; Boniface, deacon; Servus, Rus- 
ticus. subdeacons; Rogatus, Septimus, and Maximus, 
religious. . . c ................................. 301 

LXXI I. SS. Seraphia, virgin, and Sabina, widow ........... 303 

LXXIII. SS. Cyprian, magician, and Justina, virgin .......... 306 



LXXIV. SS. Hermolaus, priest; and Pantaleon, physician. ... 308 
LXXV. St. Felix, bishop of Abbir, and other holy martyrs 

and confessors of the Vandalic persecution. 311 




I. Miraculous cross found near Arima. Persecution]] in 
the Kingdom of Bungo. Joram Macama. Courage 

of the Christians 316 

II. Persecution by the Emperor Taicosama. Great zeal 
of the Christians. Twenty-six martyrs crucified at 
Nangasaki 319 

III. Persecution in the Kingdom of Fingo. John Min- 

ami ; Magdalen, his wife, and Louis, their adopted 
son; with Simon Taquenda; Jane, his mother; and 
Agnes, his wife 329 

IV. Persecution in the Kingdom of Saxuma and d Aman- 

guchi. James Sacoiama, Melchior Bugendono, Da- 

mian, the blind man. Leon Xiquemon 336 

V. New persecution in Fingo. Joachim Girozaiemo, 
Michael Faciemon and his son Thomas, John Tin- 
goro and his son Peter 341 

VI. Persecution in the Kingdom of Firando. Caspar 

Nixiguenca; Ursula, his wife; and John, their son. 343 
VII. Death of the King of Arima and persecution raised 
by his son. Thomas Onda and his family. Fran 
cis and Matthew, young princes. Eight martyrs 

burnt alive. The tyrant punished 345 

VIII. General persecution ordered by the Emperor Daifu- 

sama. Firmness of the Christians of Meaco 355 

IX. Persecution in the Kingdoms of Aqui and Bungo. 
Benedict, a converted bonze. Two families that 
were put to the test. Michael; Lin. his brother: 

and Maxentia, his wife 356 

X. Joachim and Thomas of Facata. Adam of the Island 

of Xiqui. Paul of the Kingdom of Jamaxiro 361 

XL Persecution at Nangasaki and at Omura. Brother 
Leonard Guimura and his companions. Lin Toie- 
mon 363 


XII. In the Kingdom of Bungo, James Faito, Balthasar 

and his son James 366 

XIII. Fifty-two martyrs burnt alive at Meaco 368 

XIV. Ignatius Xiquiemon, martyred at Fucimo. Conver 
sion of a bonze who had led a bad life. Matthias, 

of the Kingdom of Arima 371 

XV. Simon Bocusai and his companions, in Bungo. John 
Ciu and Joseph Ito, at Nangasaki. Leo Xonda, in 

Fingo 374 

XV 7 !. Persecution in the Kingdom of Oxu. A father re 
claimed by the example of his child. Joachim and 

Ann of Mizusama 376 

XVII. Great execution at Nangasaki. Justa, her daughter 
Mary, and her daughter-in-law Agatha. Paul 

Gazaiemon. Constancy of a child 379 

XVIII. Many victims of the persecution at Jedo. Mary Ja- 

gesa and her companions. Massacre of children. . 383 
XIX. Francis Sintaro and Matthias Squiraiemon at Firox- 

ima. lohn Cuffroi in the Kingdom of Zio 384 

XX. In the island of Nancaia, Isabella, mother of Damian, 
and his family; Mary, widow of John Sucamota, 

and his four sons 387 

XXI. In the Kingdom of Firando, Michael Fiemon and his 

family 389 

XXII. Five religious burnt alive at Omura. Leo Misaqui 

and his three sons, at Bungo 391 

XXIII. Caius and James Coici, burnt at Omura 393 

XXIV. Organtin Tanxu, and Lucy, his wife, burnt at Funai. 395 
XXV. Monica Oiva, killed by her relatives at Cubota. 

Thirty-two martyrs burnt alive 396 

XXVI. Peter Cabioie and Susanna. John Naisen and Monica, 
young Louis, and their companions, executed at 

Xangasaki 398 

XXVI 1. Frightful persecution in the Kingdom of Arima. Jo 
achim Minesuiedai, Caspar Xagaiosan, Louis Xin- 
saburo, John Tempei, Bartholomew Sanuiemon, Si 
mon Keisaiemon, Paul Uchibori, Leonard Massu- 

dadeuzo, and their companions 401 

XXVIII. Persecution in the principality of Jonezava. Louis 
Yemondono and his family, Paul Xiquibu, Anthony 

Anazava, and their companions 413 

XXIX. Persecution pushed to .he last degree of violence at 

TO Contents. 


Nangasaki. Isabella and Simeon. Father Anthony 

Iscida 419 

XXX. James Cufioie; Mary, his mother; Leo Tasuque, his 

father-in-law; and his family 423 

XXXI. Extreme cruelties exercised in the Kingdom of Ari- 
ma. Thomas Ouichibioie and his companions. Re 
markable punishment of the tyrant 426 

XXXII. Last efforts of the missionaries. Father Sebastian 

Vieyra. End of the mission 428 


HYMNS 435 

On the tomb of Alexander the Great, 435. Eternal Max 
ims, 436. Paraphrase on the words of St. Aloysius, 438. Af 
fections to Jesus and to Mary, 439. Lines sung during the 

missions 440 

Canzoncine Spiritual! 443 

Sopra la Scpoltura d il Grande, 443. Sopra le 
Massitne Eterne, 443. Canzoncina di San Luigi Gonzaga, 

445. Affetti verso Gesu Sacranientalo 446 

APPENDIX : Japan and the Holy See 447 

TABLE OF THE HOLY MARTYRS according to the order in which 

they are given in the calendar 467 




ST. ALPHONSUS was in his eightieth year when he 
wrote the VICTORIES OF THE MARTYRS, which appeared 
in the year 1776. He had just been relieved by Pope 
Pius VI. of the burden of the episcopate, which weighed 
so heavily upon him, but not of the burden of his Con 
gregation, which furnished him with a retreat that was 
most laborious. Moreover, he had to compose this work 
in the midst of the greatest sufferings, says Father Tan- 
noia. 1 The kingdom of Naples, he adds, received this 
new fruit of the zeal of our saint with general satisfac 
tion; and in the opinion of Canon Fabius Massa, the 
Church was to derive the greatest profit from it, nothing 
being better suited, especially in those calamitous times, 
to strengthen the faith and to enkindle piety. 

But the reading of such a book is not less useful in our 
age, and will be so in every age. The constancy of the 
faithful will always be tried, piety will always be perse 
cuted, by the enemies of Jesus Christ: All that will lire 
godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution? Other suf 
ferings will also not be wanting; for the road leading to 
heaven is sown with all kinds of tribulations: Through 
many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God? Such 
was the way in which our divine Saviour walked: Ought 
not Christ to hare suffered these things, and so to enter into 

1 Book iv. Chap. 3 (7). 

" Omnes qui pie volunt vivere in Christo Jesu, persecutionem 
patientur." 2 Tim. iii. 12. 

:) " Per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei." 
Af/s, xiv. 21. 

1 2 Notice. 

his glory? And he himself informs us that his disciples 
and his servants should be treated as he was treated: 
The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his 
Lord? But he assures us that the trial will never be above 
our strength, and that he is ready to aid those that call 
upon him: And God is faithful, who will not suffer you 
to be tempted above that which you are able; but will also 
make with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it? 
Hence he wishes us to have unshaken confidence while 
we are in the midst of the most cruel anguish, since 
beforehand he has made sure our victory: In the world 
you shall have distress : but have confidence, I have overcome 
the world? He even wishes that at such a time we 
should be filled with joy while considering the eternal 
reward that he has prepared for the pains of a moment: 
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven? 
And when we think of the love that our Saviour has shown 
us in all that he has done and suffered for us, our hearts 
are inflamed with gratitude and love towards him; we, 
then, desire to labor and to suffer yet more for his glory; 
we desire to sacrifice for him our lives, finding no other 
happiness than that of suffering and dying for God. 

Such are the sentiments that we admire in the athletes 
of the faith sentiments with which we feel ourselves 
sweetly penetrated w r hile reading the Victories of the 
Martyrs. This volume is a selection of the most beautiful 

1 " Nonne haec oportuit pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam 
suam ?" Luke, xxiv. 26. 

2 " Non est discipulus super magistrum, nee servus super dominuin 
suum." Matt. x. 24. 

" Fidelis autem Deus est, qui non patietur vos tentari supra id quod 
potestis; sed faciet etiam cum tentatione proventum, ut possitis sus- 
tinere." i Cor. x. 13. 

" In mundo pressuram habebitis; sed confidite, ego vici mundum." 
John, xvi. 33. 

J " Gaudete et exsultate, quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in coelis. 
Matt. v. 12. 

Notice. 1 3 

examples drawn from the history of the martyrs of every 
age and place, after the time of the apostles, and taken 
from the best sources. We have carefully revised these 
sources in order to be able to establish the correctness of 
the narrative according to the intention expressed by the 
author in his preface. We have at times found it neces 
sary, as was the case in the preceding works, to make 
certain corrections; we have even here and there added 
the name of a place or of a person, a date or some trifling 
circumstance, which the clearness and the interest of 
the narration seemed to us to demand. When, however, 
we did not follow the author literally, we only did so in 
order to render his thought more clear; and when the 
matter appeared to us to be of some importance, we 
added a note, so as to give to this good book all the ac 
curacy that the readers might desire. In a word, we 
have done what we think the author would himself have 
done, and have written for our time and for those 
for whom our work is intended, without, however, 
confounding what is the translator s with what belongs 
to the author, whose every word has always been sacred 
to us. 

This volume completes the first series of the Ascetical 
Works, comprising the volumes that are suitable for 
persons of every age and every state of life. We began 
the series by the Preparation of Death, and we finish it 
by the Victories of the Martyrs, who are our principal 
models after Jesus and Mary, the King and the Queen 
of martyrs. The other saints had only to follow them; 
it is thus that they have acquired the same glory. " St. 
John beheld all the saints clothed in white, and with 
palms in their hands: Clothed with white robes, and palms 
in their hands? The palm is the symbol of martyrs; and 
yet all the saints did not suffer martyrdom; why, then, 

1 " Amicti stolis albis, et palmre in manibus eorum." Apoc. vii. y. 

1 4 Notice. 

do all the saints bear palms in their hands ? St. Gregory 
replies, that all the saints have been martyrs either of 
the sword or of patience; so that he adds, We can be 
martyrs without the sword, if we keep patience. " We 
can even obtain many times the merit of the martyrs and 
increase the value of our crown by acts of a good-will, 
as is explained in the Introduction." 

But our revered author was not satisfied with telling 
us how we may imitate the heroes of faith; he shows us 
this much better in his wonderful life, which was a 
prodigy of patience and long martyrdom. There are 
but few saints who suffered as much as he suffered. 

He was his own tyrant and his own executioner. Al 
though he had never committed a grievous sin from his 
youth, yet, impelled by his ardent love for Jesus Christ, 
he gave himself up to the most cruel penances, and God 
permitted that he could continue them to the age of 
nearly ninety-one years. He regarded himself as a 
victim that was to be entirely immolated to divine love 
without the least reserve; and convinced that this love 
is manifested by labor and suffering, as he himself 
teaches us, :i he thought only of laboring and suffering 
as much as possible for God. But obedience being 
better than sacrifice, he bound himself by a vow to 
follow in all things the advice of the director of his con 
science, in which he recognized the divine will. By re 
nouncing all worldly hopes, he condemned himself to a 
life of extreme poverty; his garments, his furniture, and 
everything that he used, even when he was a bishop, bore 
the impress of this virtue, and reduced him to what was 
strictly necessary. At night he took his short repose on 
a simple straw-mattress, and sometimes on a plank; and 
when travelling, if he could not go on foot, he would use 

1 Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, vol. vi. page 308 or 309. 

2 See pp. 37, 39. 

3 Sure Signs of Divine Love, vol. ii. page 492. 

Notice. 1 5 

only a donkey for riding. He took hut little nourish 
ment, and was careful to mix it with bitter herbs so as 
to render its taste very disagreeable; and this he often 
ate on his knees or sitting on the floor. Besides the 
ordinary fast and abstinence, he fasted on bread and 
water on all Saturdays and vigils of the principal feasts 
When he studied or wrote, he would stand with small 
stones in his shoes in order to suffer. He severely 
scourged himself everyday, and frequently to blood; he 
used, besides, little chains, hair-cloth, and other instru 
ments for the purpose of continually tormenting his 
flesh. One evening, worn out with fatigue, he fell down 
in his room, having swooned away, and remained uncon 
scious the whole night and the greater part of the fol 
lowing day; the doctor ordered him to be disrobed, and 
on him was found a hair-shirt that covered his whole 
body. From this we may form an idea of his austerities, 
which he strove so much to conceal from the eyes of 
men. To these self-inflicted penalties must be added 
his great labors in the midst of pain, solicitude, and con 
tinual trials. 

Our saint had at one time conceived the idea to devote 
himself to the Chinese missions, and he was anxious to 
know God s holy will in regard to this matter; but the 
Lord deigned to call him to another apostolate. Obedi 
ent to the voice of Heaven, he generously undertook the 
work of his Institute, notwithstanding numerous obsta 
cles. When, after having laid the foundation, he saw 
himself all at once abandoned by his first companions, 
far from yielding to the efforts of hell to discourage him, 
he bound himself by a formal vow, under pain of grave 
sin, to persevere in his vocation, should he have to re 
main alone, and to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sal 
vation of souls. Wishing to consecrate himself unre 
servedly, during his whole life, to the service of God, he 
made another vow, which the Bull of his canonization 

1 6 Notice. 

declares to be very difficult, and till that time unheard of, 
namely, never to allow a moment to pass without em 
ploying it in some useful work. Heaven blessed these 
magnanimous acts. The devil, however, although al 
ways conquered by him, never ceased to excite against 
him a thousand contradictions, unjust prejudices, per 
fidious accusations, endless intrigues, law-suits, threats, 
and odious attacks. His enemies went so far as to bribe 
an infamous creature to sully his reputation and that o 
the missionaries. A man of influence, who was leading 
a scandalous life, took with him one day a troop of as 
sassins for the purpose of murdering him; but he was 
arrested on the way. The saint, on learning the danger 
that threatened him, quietly said: "He may take my 
life if he pleases; in this way I shall obtain the crown of 

It was a remarkable thing that his own friends were 
the cause of affliction to him no less than his enemies. 
As soon as they heard of the design that he had formed 
of founding a new Congregation of missionaries, nearly 
all of them turned against him. Those who but recently 
admitted his talents and his virtues allowed a change to 
come over them in their conduct towards him, looking 
upon him as an extravagant and fanatical man, a vision 
ary filled with self-conceit, the sport of a foolish illusion; 
without consideration they heaped upon him, both in 
public and private, the most humiliating reproaches; 
everywhere there were persons that vied with one 
another to decry him; and men in authority that were 
secretly his guides and his support did not dare to permit 
him to use their testimonials that he might defend him 
self. His associates of the Propaganda wished even to 
exclude him from their society and to deprive him of a 
benefice that was his only support. Those that had de 
clared themselves against him triumphed, especially when 
it became known that his first attempt had failed, and 

Notice. 1 7 

that he now found himself abandoned by his compan 
ions; he was regarded as one that was irretrievably lost; 
no one dared to take up his defence; and he was even 
referred to from the pulpit as a melancholy instance. 
The confusion and the anguish of our saint reached their 
highest point. Yet the most cruel trial to which his 
heart had to submit came from the excessive tenderness 
of his father when it became necessary for him to tear 
himself away from his gentle embraces in order to pro 
ceed to the place whither God was calling him. 

The Lord, moreover, reserved for his virtue many 
other assaults, and these came from his own children, and 
from the common Father of the faithful, by whom he was 
loved and venerated, and to whom he was always per 
fectly devoted. Alphonsus had known how to avoid the 
episcopate, of which the thought alone made him trem 
ble. He had already thought himself free from all 
danger, when, at the age of sixty-six and under the 
burden of grave infirmities, he found it suddenly im 
posed upon him by the irrevocable command of Clement 
XIII. This was for the poor old man like a thunder 
bolt, which he appeared only to survive by a miracle. 
After having carried this heavy burden for thirteen years, 
with a courage that was truly heroic, he was finally re 
lieved of the episcopate owing to the infirmities that 
were overwhelming him. It was then believed that he 
would finish his days in peace among his own children, 
but he was really going to empty the cup of bitterness 
that was yet far from being empty. The enemies of his 
Congregation never ceased to compass his ruin by all 
imaginable proceedings. His Congregation was con 
tinually hovering between life and death; but they were 
unsuccessful in their criminal designs. When this violent 
storm appeared to have subsided and peace was restored, 
the devil succeeded in stirring up, in the Institute itself, 
a domestic war that shook it in its very foundation. 

1 8 Notice. 

This was caused by some subjects that abused the confi 
dence of the holy Founder, and turned against him. He 
was shamefully calumniated at Rome in the midst of such 
a concourse of circumstances that it was impossible for 
him to defend himself. He was accused of having in 
fringed his Rule, and consequently the authority of the 
Holy See that had approved it. He was judged and 
was treated as the author of a culpable act of which he 
was only the principal victim. Pius VI., prepossessed 
by false reports and deceived by every appearance of 
truth, believed it to be his duty to condemn him, to de 
pose him from his office of Superior-General, and even 
to exclude him from his dear Congregation. Our saint, 
aged eighty-four years, suffering and powerless, received 
this news without being able to answer; his heart was, 
moreover, filled with great sorrow in being obliged to 
see his most worthy children involved in his own dis 
grace, and the great injury to souls that would be the 
result. There was no one left to console him; humble 
and resigned, he profoundly bent his head, and said: "It 
is only God whom I desire; it is sufficient if his grace is 
not wanting to me. The Pope wishes it so; may God be 
praised ! The will of the Pope is the will of God." He 
was for several years suffering under this fatal blow, the 
hardest that could have been inflicted upon him; and it was 
only after his death that the Holy Father learned the en 
tire truth, and became fully convinced of his innocence. 

God permitted this event in order to give his servant 
an occasion to exercise till the end his great virtue, and 
to acquire very great merits. But this was not all: he 
still had to suffer a long and painful martyrdom, both in 
his body and in his soul. 

At the beginning of his apostolic career he was af 
fected by two mortal illnesses in consequence of his ex 
cessive labors; his recovery was obtained only through 
the particular help of the Blessed Virgin. In his fifty- 

Notice. 19 

second year he was taken with a violent asthma that en 
dangered his life; he was relieved of this trouble, but 
continued to suffer from it ever after. The violence that 
he had to do to himself in order to accept the episcopal 
charge again reduced him to extremity; he rallied with 
great difficulty, and had a relapse during the first visita 
tion of his diocese, about two years after. Each time his 
case was despaired of, the last sacraments had to be ad 
ministered to him, and preparations were made for his 
funeral; but his course was not yet finished. It was in 
the seventy-second year of his age, in 1768, that he was 
attacked by his most cruel malady. An extremely pain 
ful rheumatism, which at first was thought to be sciatica, 
gradually encroached upon all his joints and ended by 
affecting the vertebrae of his neck. His head was very 
much bent over, so that his chin rested on his breast, 
where the pressure of the beard produced a painful 
wound. As the sick man suffered without complaint, 
this wound was only perceived when the vitiated erup 
tion flowing from it attracted the attention of the doctors. 
All his members were contracted, and the body, when 
viewed from behind, appeared to be without a head. 
The holy bishop had to remain painfully seated in an 
arm-chair, during the night as well as during the day, 
and could not lie down, nor dress, nor move, nor rest. 
However, at the end of a few months he became con 
valescent; but he continued to suffer, and it was no 
longer possible for him to raise his head during the 
nineteen years that he still lived. Nothing was more 
wonderful than his patience and his resignation during 
this painful sickness; and yet great was the constancy of 
his zeal to perform the exercises of piety, to mortify 
himself, to apply himself to the duties of his charge, not 
withstanding all his sufferings. 

And to all this we must add his interior trials with 
which the others cannot be compared. Alphonsus was 

2O Notice. 

a little more than thirty-three years old when God sub 
jected him to this terrible cross. His life was then only 
a life of aridity and desolation. At the altar he found 
himself without devotion; prayer had become to him 
most irksome. " I go to Jesus Christ," he used to say, " and 
he repels me; I have recourse to Mary, and she is deaf 
to my voice." A most sensible privation fora soul that 
has tasted heavenly delights, and that now, plunged into 
darkness, sees only misery, and fears to have made itself 
unworthy of the presence of its Beloved ! But it was, 
above all, during the last period of his life that our saint 
had to undergo the most frightful combats. It seems that 
God had given to the devil the power to afflict him as he 
afflicted Job. After having struck him in his body and in 
his religious family, having made him fall into disgrace 
with the Sovereign Pontiff, the tempter represented to 
him these evils as the punishment of his sins, and wished 
to persuade him that God had abandoned him. The 
poor old man was then heard to cry out in a heart-rending 
voice: "Help me; the devil wishes to make me despair. 
Help me; I do not wish to offend God." The enemy 
being repulsed, returned again and again to the charge, 
seeking to take him by surprise. He attacked him in 
different ways by darkness, scruples, fears, perplexities, 
horrible temptations. He even appeared to him under 
the form of different persons, and now flattered him to 
inspire him with the sentiment of vanity, now endeavored 
to make him believe that he was a reprobate, But 
in his distress the saint never omitted to invoke Jesus 
and Mary, and assistance was given to him. 

We give but a cursory view of what Alphonsus suffered 
during his long career. Would it not have been much 
more agreeable to him to shed his blood "by the hand of 
the executioner, in the midst of the most cruel tortures, 
with the consolation of sacrificing his life for Jesus Christ 
as he desired to do ? and would not his merits have been 

Notice. 2 r 

proportionate to his trials and to his fidelity ? We 
should, therefore, be convinced that he bears a brilliant 
palm in the assembly of the celestial conquerors. 

O great saint, who hast done so much to draw us to 
God, to show us the way to salvation, and to conduct us 
to it by thy example ! now that thou dost occupy so high 
a rank in glory, assist us from the heights of heaven; 
obtain for us the grace to follow thee at least from afar; 
or rather, obtain for us the grace generously to walk in 
thy footsteps. Obtain for us great humility, great con 
fidence in the divine mercy, great faith, great patience 
in trials, great love, great courage, great devotedness 
until the last breath. Obtain for us by thy prayers that 
we may reach a place near to thee, so that thou mayest 
present us as thy conquest for Jesus Christ. Amen. 






Virtues Practised by the Holy Martyrs in the Combats that 
they had to Sustain against their Persecutors. 

IF the reading of the Lives of the Saints is a great 
means to preserve piety, as is said by St. Philip Neri, 1 
and as is taught by all the masters of spiritual life, we 
shall find it yet more useful to read about the victories 
that the holy martyrs gained by sacrificing their lives 
amid torments. Hence, before relating their individual 
triumphs, we shall consider, to our spiritual advantage, 
the principal virtues of which they gave proofs in their 

There is no doubt that the martyrs are indebted for 
their crown to the power of the grace which they re 
ceived from Jesus Christ; for he it is that gave them the 
strength to despise all the promises and all the threats 
of tyrants, and to endure all the torments till they had 
made an entire sacrifice of their lives. So that all their 
merits, as St. Augustine writes, 2 were the effects of 
the grace that God in his mercy imparted to them. 
But it is also certain, and even of faith, that on their 
part the martyrs co-operated with the grace which ena 
bled them to obtain their victory. Innovators have 
blasphemed against this truth, saying that all the crimes 

1 Bacci, 1. 2, ch. 5. 

2 Con/. Book 9, c. 13. S. 131, E. B. 

24 Introduction. 

of the wicked and all the good works of the just are the 
offspring of necessity; but the same St. Augustine gives 
them the lie when he says that in this case no reward or 
punishment would be just. 1 

The martyrs, therefore, acquired great merits, because 
the virtues of which they gave proofs in their combats 
were great and heroic. We shall briefly describe these 
virtues in order that we may imitate them in the tribu 
lations to which we may be exposed in this life. 

We at first remark that the martyrs were firmly attached 
to all the dogmas of the Christian faith. In the first 
ages of the Church two false religions specially opposed 
ours : these were the religion of the Gentiles and that 
of the Jews. The religion of the Gentiles, by admitting 
several gods, furnished itself the proof of its falsity; for 
if the world had been under the dominion of several 
masters, it could not have maintained that regular and 
constant order which we see has been preserved for so 
many centuries up to the present time, This is evident 
even to the eyes of natural reason; for every kingdom 
divided against itself shall be destroyed. 1 Moreover, the very 
words of the idolatrous priests clearly demonstrated the 
falsity of their worship, since the actions that they at 
tributed to their gods represented the latter as filled 
with passions and vices. This was the way in which the 
holy martyrs reproached the tyrants when the latter ex 
horted them to sacrifice to their idols: " How can we," 
they said, " adore your gods, if, instead of offering us 
models of virtue, they exhibit us only examples of vice ?" 
The religion of the Jews, although formerly holy and 
revealed by God, was at that time not less manifestly ob 
solete and false. In fact, in the Scriptures themselves 
which they had received from God, had preserved with so 

1 " Sive autem iniquitas, sive justitia, si in potestate non esset, nullum 
praemium, nulla poena justa esset." Contra Faust. 1. 22, c. 78. 
8 " Omne regnum in seipsum divisum desolabitur." Luke, xi. 17. 

Introduction. 25 

much care, and had transmitted to us, it was predicted 
that at a certain time the Sun of God was to come down 
upon earth, to become man, and to die for he salvation of 
the world; that they themselves would put him to death 
on the Cross as they actually did, and that in punishment 
of this impiety they would be driven from their own 
kingdom, and without a king, without a temple, without 
a country, they would live scattered, and be vagabonds 
throughout the world, abhorred and despised by all na 
tions. These were predictions that were manifestly 
realized in every particular after the death of the Saviour. 

What rendered still more certain the truth of our 
faith was the formation of a new people of God by the 
conversion of the Gentiles: this was known to have been 
announced beforehand in the Scriptures, and this was 
seen to be realized as soon as the apostles spread through 
out the world in order to promulgate the New Law 
preached by Jesus Christ. This event was an evident 
proof of the protection that God gave to the Christian re 
ligion; for how could these poor sinners or these publicans, 
such as the apostles were men devoid of instruction, of 
wealth, of every human assistance, and even persecuted 
by the magistrates and the emperors, have induced, with 
out divine assistance, so many Christians to renounce all 
their property, all their honors, and generously to sacri 
fice their lives amid tortures the most excruciating that 
the power and the cruelty of the tyrants could invent ? 

But what was still more marvellous was to behold so 
many Gentiles embrace a religion difficult to believe and 
difficult to practise. It was difficult to believe on the 
part of the intellect, for this religion teaches mysteries 
beyond the reach of human reason; namely, the Trinity 
of one God in three distinct persons, who have but one 
nature, one power, and one will; the Incarnation of the 
Son of God come upon earth to die for the salvation of 
mankind; and many other articles regarding original 

26 Introduction. 

sin, the spirituality and the immortality of the soul, the 
sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Holy Eucha 
rist. It was difficult to practise on the part of the will, 
because it commands things contrary to the inclinations 
of nature corrupted by sin and repugnant to the libertin 
ism in which the pagans were living, who were accus 
tomed to follow their passions and to give themselves up 
to the pleasures of the senses. Notwithstanding these 
obstacles, the Christian religion saw itself embraced by 
so many nations ! From this universal consent of the 
nations St. Augustine argues the divinity of our religion, 
saying that had not God illuminated by his powerful 
grace so many people civilized and barbarian, learned 
and illiterate, noble and plebeian, all immersed in the 
superstitions of their country, imbued from their earliest 
years with maxims so opposed to the sanctity of faith 
how could they have embraced it ? 

Besides the interior lights of grace, there were many 
other causes that induced the people to embrace Chris 
tianity and to remain firm in professing it. Miracles 
contributed much to inflame their zeal; for from the 
moment in which the apostles began to preach, the Lord 
caused miracles to abound in testimony of the faith, as 
St. Mark says: They preached everywhere, the Lord working 
withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed. 1 
It is certain that the great miracles that had been 
wrought by the apostles and their disciples contributed 
largely to the conversion of the world. In vain the ad 
herents of idolatry tried to make believe that these prodi 
gies were the effect of magical incantations: every one 
well understood that God would never permit them if 
they were to serve the purpose of giving support to dia 
bolical agency or to a false religion. The proof of mira 
cles was therefore a truly divine proof, by which the 

1 " Praedicaverunt ubique, Domino cooperante et sermonem confirm- 
ante sequentibus signis." Mark, xvi. 20. 

Introduction. 27 

Lord confirmed the Christian religion and the faith of 

The faith became further strengthened by the con 
stancy of martyrs of both sexes, of every age and condi 
tion : men and women, the aged and the young, the 
noble and the plebeian, the rich and the poor, the learned 
and the unlearned, married and single. They were seen 
to renounce their homes, their parents, their titles, their 
fortunes, and everything they possessed, to embrace 
scourges, racks, fire, torture, and to encounter death under 
its most horrible shapes; and all this not only with 
courage, but with joyfulness and thanksgiving to God, 
who made them worthy to suffer and die for his love. 
St. Justin, who was himself a martyr, confessed that this 
heroic virtue of the Christians had been to him a power 
ful stimulus to embrace the faith! 1 

The martyrs received great courage in their sufferings 
from the desire of quickly arriving at the fruition of the 
promises made by Jesus Christ to his followers: Blessed 
are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you. . . . Be 
glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven"" 
Every one therefore that shall confess me before men I will 
also confess him before my Father who is in heaven? 

But what above all filled the martyrs with courage and 
ardor and made them wish to die was their great love 
for their divine Master, whom St. Augustine 4 calls the 
King of Martyrs, who wished to die on the Cross in pain 
and in desolation for the love of us, as St. Paul says: 

1 Apolog. i. 

a " Beati estis, cum maledixerint vobis, et persecuti vos fuerint . . . 
Gaudete et exsultate, quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in ccelis."- 
Matt. v. ii. 

3 " Omnis ergo qui confitebitur me coram hominibus, confitebor et 
ego eum coram Patre meo, qui in ccelis est." Matt. x. 32. 

4 In Ps. Ixiii. 

28 Introduction. 

He loveth us, and hath delivered himself^/ or us. 1 Actuated 
by this love, they went with joy to suffer and to die for 
Jesus Christ; so that, not content to endure the pains that 
were inflicted upon them, they besought, they provoked 
the executioners and the tyrants, to obtain from them an 
increase of torture, in order that they might show them 
selves more grateful to God who died for love of them. 

Hence it came to pass, according to St. Justin, that in 
the course of three centuries the whole earth was filled 
with Christians and martyrs. " There is no nation, 
Greek or barbarian," writes the holy martyr to Trypho, 
" that does not offer prayers and thanksgivings to the 
Creator of the universe by invoking the name of Jesus 
Christ." 1 St. Irenaeus, 3 in like manner, attests that at 
his time the faith of Jesus Christ was extended over the 
entire world. Pliny, in his celebrated letter to the Em 
peror Trajan, 4 declared that the Christian faith was ex 
tended to such a degree that the temples of the gods were 
abandoned, and that victims were no longer offered to 
the idols. And Tiberian also wrote to the same emperor 
that it would be unwise to put to death all the Christians, 
since the number of those who were anxious to die for 
Jesus Christ was incalculable. 5 

From these facts Clement of Alexandria subse 
quently inferred, that if God himself had not upheld 
the Christian faith, it never could have withstood the 
efforts of so many philosophers who endeavored to ob 
scure it with sophisms, or the violence of so many kings 
and emperors who labored to extinguish it by persecu 
tion. The number of Christians, far from having been 

1 " Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis." Eph. v. 2. 

2 Dial, cum Triph. 

3 Adv. Hares. 1. 3, c. n. 

4 Lib. 10, Ep. 97. 

" Suidas, Hist. v. 7 rajanus, 
ti Strom* 1. 6. 

Introduction. 29 

diminished by the slaughter of the saints, became so 
wonderfully increased, that Tertullian said: "Our num 
ber grows in the same measure that you decimate us; 
the blood of the Christians is a sort of seed." He used 
the word seed because the blood of the martyrs w?s 
that which multiplied the faithful. Tertullian, indeed, 
boasted of this, and upbraided the tyrants with their 
impotency; since, notwithstanding all their endeavors 
to -exterminate the followers of the Gospel, the streets, 
the forum, and even the senate, were filled with Chris 
tians. Origen likewise writes: " It is a thing worthy to 
be observed, and eminently calculated to excite wonder, 
to behold the steady progress of the Christian religion, 
in spite of the most untiring persecution and continual 
martyrdoms." " Greeks and barbarians," continues this 
celebrated writer, " the wise and the unlearned, volun 
tarily embraced it; from which we may conclude that its 
propagation was due to a power superior to the human." 
Before the end of the second century, we are assured 
by Tertullian, all nations (universa gentes) had embraced 
the faith of Jesus. He makes special mention of the 
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, the inhabitants *of 
Mesopotamia, of Armenia, and of Phrygia, of Cappa- 
docia, Pontus, Asia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Cirenasia, and 
Palestine; the Gethuli, the entire of Spain, many of the 
Gallic tribes, Bretagne, the Sarmatians, the Dacians, the 
Scythians, and many remote nations, provinces, and isl 
ands. 3 Arnobius," who died a hundred years after Ter 
tullian, adds to the list of those converted to the faith, 
the Indians, the Sarii, the Persians, and the Medes; 
Arabia, Syria, Gallacia, Acaja, Macedonia, and Epirus, 
with all the islands and provinces from the rising to the 

1 Apologet. c. 50. 

- DC P rind p. \. .], c. I. 

Adv. Jiulu os. 

* Aiir. Cent. 1. 2. 

30 Introduction. 

setting sun." Besides those regions enumerated by 
Tertullian, St. Athanasius, half a century afterwards, 
mentions others. Writing to the Emperor Jovinian, he 
says: " Know that this faith has been preached from the 
beginning, approved by the Nicene Fathers, and pro 
fessed by all the Churches of the world in Spain, in 
England, and in Gaul; throughout the entire of Italy, 
in Dalmatia, Dacia, Mysia, and Macedonia; in all Greece, 
and in all Africa; in Sardinia, Cyprus, Crete, Pamphylia, 
Lysia, and Isauria; in Egypt and Lybia, in Pontus and 
Cappadocia. With the exception of a few of the Arian 
faction, we may add all the nearer Churches, as well as 
those of the East." 

Thus we see that, after the ten persecutions of the 
Roman emperors, which lasted for more than two 
hundred years, beginning from the first under Nero, the 
greater part of the human race, having abandoned the 
worship of false deities, had embraced the doctrines of 
Christianity. Finally, after so many struggles, it pleased 
the Almighty Disposer of events to grant peace to his 
Church under Constantine. This emperor was, after a 
miraculous manner, chosen by Heaven for the carrying 
out of the merciful dispensations of divine Providence. 
Having first overcome Maxentius, and afterwards Licin- 
ius, in the strong arm of the Lord, for, as Eusebius re 
lates, in whatever direction the Labarum, or standard of the 
cross, appeared, the enemy either fled or surrendered, 
after peace had been established he forbade the Gentiles 
to sacrifice any longer to their idols, and caused magnifi 
cent temples to be erected to the honor of Jesus Christ. 
And oh, how glorious did not the Church then appear ! still 
more widely extending her blessed influence, and, with 
every new conquest, bringing additional joy to the hearts 
of her once persecuted children ! Then ceased the torments 
of the martyr, and with them the bitter calumnies of the 
idolater. Busv multitudes of zealous converts were to be 

Introduction. 3 1 

seen in every city destroying the idols which they once 
adored, pulling down the ancient shrines of superstition, 
and erecting new altars to the worship of the true God ! 
The confines of so vast an empire were too narrow a 
limit for the active zeal of the great Constantine. He 
labored to propagate the saving doctrines of religion in 
Persia and among the barbarous nations he had subdued; 
nor would he, according to Eusebius 1 and Socrates, 3 
grant them the amity of the Roman Empire, except upon 
the condition of their becoming Christians. 

True it is that from time to time divers heresies have 
sprung up in the Church, which have been productive of 
much evil; but the hand of the Lord hath not been shortened? 
Even in these latter days we have had authentic accounts 
of many considerable acquisitions made by the Church, 
both among heretics and pagans. A learned author 
writes that ten thousand Arians have recently been con 
verted in Transylvania. In Prussia an additional num 
ber of Catholic churches have been erected. In Den 
mark the public profession of the Catholic religion is 
now tolerated. The missions in England are being carried 
on with very happy results. We have been assured by 
persons of authority and undoubted veracity, that in the 
East forty thousand Armenian and other oriental here 
tics have been received into the communion of our holy 
Church; that in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Chaldea 
the number of Catholics is every day increasing; and 
that during the last few years several Nestorian Bishops 
have abjured the errors of that sect. Finally, during 
the present century a considerable number of Pagans 
have been converted in India and China.* 

1 Vita Const. 1. 2, c. 7, 45, 46. 
* Hist. 1. i, c. 1 8. 
3 Is. lix. i. 

* No, certainly, " the hand of the Lord hath not been shortened;" we 
see this at all times displaying itself with a new lustre. At the time 

32 Introduction. 

But to return to the martyrs. The number of Chris 
tians who had received the crown of martyrdom, pre 
vious to the accession of Constantine, was almost in- 

when St. Alphonsus wrote this sketch, more than a century ago, one 
of the most terrible trials to which the Church had to submit began by 
the suppression of the Jesuits, and ended in the French Revolution. The 
altar and the throne were overturned ; the last trace of them was to be 
effaced; the blood of the martyrs flowed in torrents; the Sovereign Pon 
tiff, despoiled of his States, was dragged into exile, where he died. The 
Church appeared annihilated in the eyes of her enemies, when she rose 
again with Pius VII., who, chosen miraculously at Venice, proceeded 
without hindrance to Rome and sat triumphantly on his throne in 
sight of an astonished world. His invincible patience, resting only on 
God, overcame all the artifices and all the violence of a tyrant who*was 
then all-powerful, of whom God made an illustrious example of his 
justice and mercy. At the present day we see that three things are 
lying in the abyss opened by impiety to ingulf religion. These three 
things are Josephism, Gallicanism, and Jansenism. Not only is divine 
worship re-established in France, but this fertile land, notwithstanding 
the efforts of hell, produces a multitude of new institutions, fruits of 
the noblest zeal, such as the admirable work of the Propagation of the 
Faith. The same religious movement signalizes itself in other parts of 
Europe by many remarkable conversions, notably in Germany, Sweden, 
and England. The Catholic missions make progress nearly everywhere 
in Africa, Asia, America, and Australia, and as far as the innumerable 
islands of Oceanica, where horrible cannibals become exemplary Chris 
tians. Corea counts more than ten thousand followers of Christ and 
one hundred and forty martyrs before it has even seen a priest; some 
thing nearly similar took place among the Indians of the Rocky Mountains 
in northern Oregon. The pontificate of Pius IX., troubled as was that 
of Pius VII., is not less fertile in wonders of every kind; thus, among 
other things, at the moment of peril, a devoted band of young men 
came from different Catholic countries, closed around the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ, and did not hesitate to shed their blood in defence of the rights 
of the Holy See; and when the Holy Father was deprived of necessary 
resources there was established the Peter s pence, which extended from 
Belgium to all other countries, to assist in overcoming falsehood, hypo 
crisy, and brutal force that had conspired against the Church. The 
Church of God on earth is always militant; but each of her combats fur 
nishes a new proof of the truth of the infallible words : The gates of hell 
shall not prevail against her" (Matt. xvi. 18). ED. 

Introduction, 33 

credible. Many authors calculate the number of those 
who had laid down their liv r es for the faith to have been 
nearly eleven millions! So that if this number were 
equally distributed in the course of one year, thirty thou 
sand would be allotted to each day. 

Oh, the beautiful harvest of holy martyrs that para 
dise has reaped since the preaching of the Gospel ! But, 
O God ! what will be, on the day of general judgment, 
the confusion of the tyrants and of all the persecutors of 
the faith, at the sight of the martyrs once so despised 
and so maltreated by them, when these celestial heroes 
shall appear in glory, extolling the greatness of God, 
and armed with the sword of divine justice to avenge 
themselves for all the injuries and cruelties exercised 
against them, as was foretold by David : The high praises 
of God in their mouths, and two-edged swords in their hands 
to execute vengeance upon tJie nations; to bind their kings in 
fetters, and their nobles in manacles of iron. 1 Then shall 
the martyrs judge the Neros, the Domidans, and other 
persecutors, and shall condemn them; yea, as we read in 
the Gospel of St. Matthew, even to the exterior darkness, 
where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth? 

But it will be for us a subject of more profitable medi 
tation to reflect upon another scene which the great day 
of general and irrevocable doom \vill present the de 
spair of so many Christians who, having died in mortal 
sin, will behold with unavailing anguish the triumph of 
so many martyrs, who, rather than lose God, suffered 
themselves to be despoiled of all things, and underwent 
the most horrid torments that hell could suggest or 

1 " Exaltationes Dei in gutture eorum, et gladii ancipites in manibus 
eorum, ad faciendam vindictam in nationibus, increpationes in populis, 
ad alligandos reges eorum in compedibus et nobiles eorum in manicis 
ferreis, ut faciant in eis judicium conscriptum." Ps. cxlix. 6. 

* " Ligatis manibus et pedibusejus, mittite eum in tenebras exteriores; 
ibi frit tletus et stridor dentium." Mutt. xxii. 13. 

34 Introduction. 

tyrants inflict; while they, rather than yield a point of 
honor or forego a momentary gratification, despised the 
suggestions of divine grace, and lost their souls forever ! 


The Advantages of Devout Meditation on the Virtues that 
the Martyrs Practised during their Sufferings. 

From an earnest consideration of the illustrious ex 
amples of virtue which the saints have given us during 
their martyrdom, oh, how much is to be learned ! 

I. By beholding, in devout meditation, the utter con 
tempt in which they held the world and all the allure 
ments of its pompous vanities, we are taught to despise 
the fleeting and unsubstantial pleasures which it offers 
to its deluded votaries. Many of them, previously to 
having been put to torture, had been offered by the 
tyrants immense rewards, posts of honor, and noble 
marriages, to induce them to abandon the faith. Yet 
they not only indignantly refused them, but willingly 
renounced the riches and honors which they already 
held, and offered themselves up to tortures the most ex 
cruciating and deaths the most ignominious, in order not 
to lose those heavenly graces which benign Providence 
fails not to impart to the servants of the Lord, as the 
earnest of the eternal blessings which shall be the re 
compense of their fidelity. To St. Clement of Ancyra 
the tyrant offered a great quantity of gold and precious 
stones if he would deny the name of the Lord Jesus; 
but the saint, raising his eyes to heaven, exclaimed: 
"And is it thus, O my God, that men treat Thee! 
to compare Thee to dust and dross !" The pontifi 
cal dignity was offered to St. Theodore of Amasea, as 
the reward of his apostasy. The holy martyr, ridiculing 
the proposal, replied: "Pontifical dignity ! I am about 
to enjoy God forever in heaven; and is it likely, think 

Introduction. 35 

you, that I should prefer remaining on earth, to follow 
the trade of a cook and a butcher to your false gods?" 

II. From the example of the martyrs we learn also to 
place our confidence only in God, and to become daily 
more enamoured of the excellence of our faith: since in 
their constancy we cannot help admiring the wonderful 
power of God which enabled them to encounter tor 
ments and death with heroic fortitude and ecstatic joy. 
For without the interposition of the most powerful as 
sistance from heaven, how could the delicate constitution 
of nervous persons, the tottering decrepitude of age, the 
timorous disposition of tender virgins, the recklessness 
of adolescent manhood, or the inconsideration of boyhood 
years, be equal to tortures, the bare recital of which fills 
us with horror ? Caldrons of boiling oil and liquid pitch, 
red-hot coats of mail, hooks to pull out the eyes and 
teeth, iron combs to tear off the flesh; fires quickly to 
consume, or tediously to torture; scourging until bones 
and bowels appeared; beheading, quartering, lacerating, 
impaling these were only some of the ingredients of the 
martyr s cup. 

St. Barlaam, a poor laborer of a village in Antioch, 
having evinced extraordinary fortitude during his suffer 
ings, and having been scourged until the executioners 
had exhausted their strength, was obliged by the tyrant 
to hold his hand over the flame that burned before the 
shrine of an idol. At the same time burning coals and 
incense were placed upon his hand, in the hope that he 
might be obliged by the pain to let them fall upon the 
altar, and thus afford them the opportunity of asserting 
that he had sacrificed to the idols; but the constancy of 
the saint was greater than their malice he allowed his 
flesh to be burned to the bone, and expired in the effort. 

St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom have eulogized this 

St. Eulalia affords another instance of the wonderful 

36 Introduction. 

aid which the Almighty gives to those who are devoted 
to his service. She was a youthful virgin, of only twelve 
years; the tyrant ordered her to be cruelly scourged, and 
then caused boiling oil to be poured into the wounds, 
and burning torches to be applied to her breasts and 
sides. During these tortures she ceased not to praise 
the Lord. Her joints were entirely dislocated, the flesh 
torn from her bones with iron hooks, and she was fin 
ally burned alive, having baffled the ingenuity of her in 
human executioners. 

The martyrdom, also, of St. Vitus and St. Agapitus 
shows us the wonderful assistance of grace, which never 
fails the servants of the Lord. The former, when only 
fourteen years of age, was scourged, racked, and torn with 
irons. His father, who was a Gentile, wept with anguish 
to see hisson expire in such torments. " No, father !" ex 
claimed the boy, "I do not die: I go to live with Christ 
forever." St. Agapitus, also a youth, evinced the same 
fortitude : the tyrant threatened that he would place 
upon his head a red-hot helmet: "And what better 
fortune could await me," said the saint, " than to ex 
change your instrument of torture for a heavenly crown ?" 
Then the emperor ordered that red-hot coals should 
be placed on his head, that he be scourged, and be sus 
pended by the feet over a thick smoke; he afterwards 
had boiling water poured over his breast, and finally had 
him beheaded. 

The triumph of divine grace in the aged was manifested 
in St. Simeon, who at the age of one hundred and twenty 
endured the most excruciating tortures and expired on a 
cross, as is related by Eusebius of Caesarea. St. Philip, 
Bishop of Heraclea, at a most decrepit old age, was 
dragged by the feet through the city, scourged till his 
bowels appeared, and afterwards burned alive. The 
venerable martyr, till his last breath, ceased not to return 
thanks to the Lord, who had made him worthy to die for 
his glory. 

Introduction. 3 7 

III. From the patience which the martyrs evinced 
during their tortures, we should learn to suffer with 
holy resignation the crosses and afflictions of this life; 
poverty, sickness, persecution, contumely, injustice, and 
all other evils, are but trifling when compared with their 
sufferings. The reflection that it was the will of God 
that they should suffer for his love, was their only solace. 
We also in our tribulations should remember the neces 
sity of resignation to the divine will; and, calling to 
mind the more grievous sufferings of the martyrs, should 
blush to complain. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: 
" Conformity to the divine will is a sovereign remedy for 
all evils." 

It may be useful here to remark, with St. Augustine, 
that it is not the torture but the cause which maketh the 
martyr. 2 Whence St. Thomas 3 teaches that martyrdom 
is to suffer death in the exercise of an act of virtue. 
From which we may infer that not only he who by the 
hands of the executioner lays down his life for the faith, 
but whoever dies to comply with the divine will, and to 
please God, is a martyr, since in sacrificing himself to 
the divine love he performs an act of the most exalted 
virtue. We all have to pay the great debt of nature; let 
us therefore endeavor, in holy prayer, to obtain resigna 
tion to the divine will to receive death and every tribu 
lation in conformity with the dispensations of his Provi 
dence. As often as we shall perform this act of resigna 
tion with sufficient fervor, we may hope to be made 
partakers of the merits of the martyrs. St. Mary Mag 
dalene de Pazzi, in reciting the doxology in the office, 
always bowed her head in the same spirit as she would 
have done in receiving the stroke of the executioner.* 

1 Abelly, 1. 3, ch. 9. 

- " Martyres veros, non poena facit, sed causa." Kfist. 89, E. B. 

3 2. 2, q. 124, a. 5. 

* The same idea is repeated, page 39. 

38 Introduction. 

IV. The examples of the martyrs teach us also to have 
immediate recourse to the assistance of God, by earnest 
supplication, when we feel ourselves disconsolate or weak 
under affliction. Thus did the holy martyrs. As their 
torture increased, they multiplied their prayers and se 
cured the victory. St. Theodore, after a long endurance 
of his tortures, was stretched upon burning tiles; feeling 
the pain penetrating to his very heart, he besought the 
Lord to mitigate the torture, and persevered to the end. 
There have, on the contrary, been examples of Christians, 
who, failing to invoke the assistance of the Almighty, 
have fallen off from the confession of the,. faith, and for 
feited the glorious crown. An example is found in the 
acts of the martyrs of Japan. An aged man, having 
been condemned to a protracted martyrdom, endured 
the torture for a considerable time, but failing to invoke 
heavenly aid, denied his faith a few moments before he 
expired a startling warning to all, that perseverance in 
prayer, in times of temptation and distress, is that which 
alone can insure us the victory. 

V. But the most important lesson which we learn from 
the martyrs is the necessity of the love of God: He 
who loveth not abideth in death? We cannot manifest our 
love of God so well by a multitude of actions performed 
for his glory, as by a willingness to suffer for his sake. 
St. Gordianus replied to the tyrant, who threatened to 
put him to death if he did not deny the name of Jesus: 
"You threaten death ! but my greatest regret is, that I 
can die but once for Jesus Christ." In a similar manner, 
St. Procopius exclaimed to the tyrant, who was directing 
further tortures: "Torment as much as thou wilt, but 
know that to one who truly loves Jesus Christ, nothing 
is dearer than to suffer for his sake." "And did the 
s-aints speak thus," says St. Bernard, "because they were 

1 " Qui non diligit, manet in morte." i John, iii. 14. 

Introduction . 3 9 

insensible to torments ? No," continues the holy Doctor, 
" they were neither frantic nor insensible, but their love 
of Jesus Christ caused them to esteem it all joy to suffer 
and to die for his glory." This ardent love of God is 
certainly the greatest spiritual advantage to be derived 
from the perusal of the acts of the martyrs; the recol 
lection of their conduct will make us ashamed to repine 
under the tribulations which divine Providence sends us, 
and will strengthen us to receive them with resignation. 
VI. I add that death, which is the tribute that every 
one must pay, is the greatest of all our tribulations, and 
that makes not only sinners but the just tremble. Our 
Saviour himself as man wished to show the fear that he 
felt in the face of death, so that he began to pray to his 
Father to free him from it, But at the same time he 
teaches us to accept death according to the good pleasure 
of God by saying: Nevertheless, not my will but thine be 
done? The following is the way in which we acquire the 
glory of martyrdom: It is by accepting death to please 
God and to conform to his will; for, as we have remarked 
above with St. Augustine, not the pain, but the cause of 
death, or the end for which one submits to it, is that 
which makes martyrs. It follows that he who dies, in 
courageously accepting death and all the pains that ac 
company it, to accomplish the divine will, though he does 
not receive death by the hands of the executioner, dies, 
however, with the merit of martyrdom, or at least with 
a very similar merit. It also follows that as often as 
any one offers himself to undergo martyrdom for the 
love of God, so often he gains the merit of martyrdom. 
We have seen above 3 the example of St. Mary Magdalene 
of Pazzi, who when she inclined the head at the Glory be 
to the Father, imagined that at the same moment she was 

1 " Neque hoc facit stupor, sed amor." In Cant. s. 61. 

* " Verumtamen, non sicut ego volo, sed sicut tu." Matt. xxvi. 39. 

3 Page 37. 

40 Introduction. 

receiving the stroke of the executioner. Hence we shall 
see in heaven a great number of saints doubly crowned 
with the merit of martyrdom without having been 

VII. Finally, \ve should be moved to recommend our 
selves every day, with great confidence, to the interces 
sion of the holy martyrs, whose prayers are most effica 
cious with God. When we suffer some grievous pain, or 
when we desire a special favor, let us make a novena or 
a triduum in honor of the holy martyrs, and we shall 
easily obtain the grace. Let us not fail to honor them, 
says St. Ambrose; for they are our princes in the faith 
and our powerful intercessors. 1 If the Lord promises a 
reward to him who gives a drink of water to a poor man, 8 
what will he not do for those who sacrificed their lives 
in the midst of torments! Let us here observe that the 
martyrs, before receiving the mortal blow, without doubt 
prepared themselves many times for the many tortures 
and for death, so that when they closed their earthly 
career they died with the merit not only of one martyr 
dom, but with the merit of all those martyrdoms that 
they had already accepted and offered sincerely to God. 
Hence we may imagine with what abundance of merits 
they entered heaven, and how valuable is their mediation 
with God. 

A Prayer to the Holy Martyrs to obtain their Protection. 

O ye blessed Princes of the heavenly kingdom ! ye 
who sacrificed to the Almighty God the honors, the 
riches, and possessions of this life, and have received in 
return the unfading glory and never-ending joys of 
heaven ! ye who are secure in the everlasting possession 
of the brilliant crown of glory which your sufferings 
have obtained ! look with compassionate regards upon 

^\\_2jp^Hpnoremus beatos Martyres, principes fidei, intercessores mun- 
92. * Matt. x. 42. 

Introduction. 41 

our wretched state in this valley of tears, where we groan 
in the uncertainty of what may be our eternal destiny. 
And from that divine Saviour, for whom you suffered so 
many torments, and who now repays you with so un 
speakable glory, obtain for us that we may love him 
with all our heart, and receive in return the grace of 
perfect resignation under the trials of this life, fortitude 
under the temptations of the enemy, and perseverance to 
the end. May your powerful intercession obtain for us 
that we may one day in your blessed company sing the 
praises of the Eternal, and, even as you now do, face to 
face, enjoy the beatitude of his vision ! 

The Various Tortures to which the Martyrs were Subjected. 

The Rev. Father Mamachi, in his erudite and labored 
work entitled " Manners and Customs of the First 
Christians," 1 gives an account of all these tortures suf 
fered by the martyrs, from the works of ancient writers 
who were their contemporaries, as St. Justin, Tertullian, 
Athenagoras, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, Clement of 
Alexandria, and others. This author describes at much 
length the various species of torture employed against 
the servants of Jesus Christ during the ten persecu 
tions of the Roman emperors ; we shall be more brief, 
as our intention is merely to .show how rich in merit 
those sainted heroes closed their earthly career. 


Some were crucified in an erect posture, as was our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; others with the head downwards, as 
St. Peter, according to Eusebius, who relates this on the 
authority of Origen ; others in the manner in which the 
martyrdom of St. Andrew is represented. Many were 
made to pass their arms under the transverse beam of 
1 L. 2, ch. 6. 

42 Introduction. 

the cross, and had their hands nailed upon the upper 
part. Some were suspended from a tree by the hands, 
their arms having been first tied behind their backs, 
and heavy weights attached to their feet. Women were 
hung up by the hair, the agony of which torture was suf 
ficient to cause death ; others were hung by one or both 
feet, with the head downwards, and in many cases a 
large stone tied round the neck ; finally, many had 
their hands nailed to a beam, with enormous weights at 
their feet. 


Some were placed upon gridirons, others plunged 
into caldrons of boiling oil or pitch. Many were suffo 
cated with smoke, or dressed in a garment smeared with 
some combustible matter, and so burned at a stake. 
Some were cast into fiery furnaces ; more were crowded 
into a ship, which was set on fire at sea ; others were in 
closed in a brazen bull and roasted alive ; more were 
tortured by red-hot plates of iron applied to their sides; 
some, finally, were thrown upon the earth, and molten 
lead poured over them, or were impaled upon a spit, 
and roasted before a slow fire. 


Scourges were of various kinds of leather, of cane, 
of the tendons of oxen, of iron links, and sometimes of 
rods of iron, shaped like thorns, which were called scor 
pions. The martyrs were generally tied to a post, or 
between four posts, to increase their punishment; but 
some were placed in a kind of stock. This stock con 
sisted of two large pieces of wood, one above the other, 
between which the feet of the sufferers 1 were confined, 

1 There was another instrument of torture which is called in Latin 
Nervus. It was a wooden machine destined to confine the feet, and 
sometimes the neck and the hands ; it had several holes at different dis 
tances from one another. Hence it is said of certain martyrs that their 
feet were stretched as far as the fourth or fifth hole. ED. 

Introduction. 43 

and in this torture they were sometimes scourged, others 
were thrown with their backs on a table filled with 
large nails, then struck with sticks or rods. 


These were iron hooks on which the Christians were 
suspended, and iron claws that served to tear them to 
the bone and to their very entrails. Other instruments 
were destined to pull out all their teeth, one after the 
other. Their flesh was lacerated with iron combs, or 
they were flayed. They were tied to the ground and 
were cut with blows of the hatchet, or their members 
were gradually cut to pieces, from the toes till their 
thighs, and from the fingers to the breasts, so that 
nothing was left but the trunk. They were stretched 
with their backs against a wheel that made them move 
on sharp irons fixed in the ground ; or they were tied 
upon a table, then disembowelled, and their intestines 
taken out. 


The martyrs were also tortured on the rack, and with 
other torments. Sometimes they were exposed to the 
sun, their bodies being rubbed with honey so that they 
might be stung by the flies and wasps. They were 
made to die in different ways. They were stoned, be 
headed, strangled, drowned. There were some who 
were tied to two trees that had been bent by main force, 
which when released would tear them to pieces. Others 
tied in a bag were thrown into the sea, or thrown to the 
dogs or wild beasts. Some were made to die under the 
press; others perished from hunger. 1 

1 In Part II. we shall see several other tortures invented by the re 
fined cruelty of the Japanese. ED. 


IT is not our intention to give, in this work, a history 
of all the martyrs who have glorified the Church ; but, 
without subjecting ourselves to any order of time or of 
persons, merely to relate the victories of some saints 
who showed the greatest courage in their combats, and 
suffered the most horrible tortures that could have been 
invented by the tyrants. 

In some of our narrations the reader may find himself 
at a loss to account for such barbarity and fierceness as 
the tyrants practised upon the martyrs, whose innocence 
and meekness might be expected to save them from per 
secution. Let us consider whence this fury came. 

It at first originated in the hatred which the Pagans 
bore towards Christians, whose virtues were the strong 
est censure upon their infamous lives. 

It was also caused by the instigation of the devils 
who vehemently abhorred these pious athletes, the more 
their example served to propagate the faith and induced 
the rest to imitate them. 

The principal reason of this persecution was the 
hatred that these tyrants conceived against the martyrs 

1 This holds good only of Part I. ; in Part II. the author has followed 
a chronological order, but we may everywhere : ee that he has taken 
care to vary the subjects, according to the condition of persons, of their 
country, of their manner of death; for instance, a distinguished old man, 
the Bishop of Antioch, is transported to Rome to be devoured by beasts; 
now a young woman with her child is beheaded in Asia Minor; then 
a generous deacon undergoes various tortures in Spain; etc. ED. 

46 Preface. 

in seeing themselves overcome by children, by tender 
virgins, by simple and ignorant men, who upbraided 
them with their insanity in following a false religion, 
which authorized every vice, and called upon them to 
worship as gods men who, during their lives, had given 
the most horrid examples of turpitude and crime that 
ever human nature revolted at. 

Their rage was yet more increased at the sight of the 
very many miracles wrought through the servants of 
the true God ; they saw wild beasts cast themselves at 
the feet of the martyrs ; they perceived that red-hot 
coals, molten lead, did not burn them, and witnessed 
other similar prodigies. In vain did they cry out : 
"This is magic; these are incantations;" the people 
were converted in the presence of these miracles, and 
thousands of them embraced the faith ; and this re 
doubled the irritation of the judges. 

They believed that they were frightening the Chris 
tians by inventing new tortures, and flattered them 
selves that they were extinguishing the faith by putting 
to death all Christians. But the more they multiplied 
tortures and immolated victims, the more did the num 
ber of the faithful increase. Tertullian 1 relates that a 
certain governor in Asia, named Arrius, was putting to 
death those who confessed the name of the Lord Jesus, 
when such a multitude presented themselves before his 
tribunal as caused him to shudder at the thought of 
shedding so much blood ; he therefore contented himself 
with putting a few of them to death, and to the rest he 
said : " If your desire of death be so irresistible, there 
are precipices enough from which to fling yourselves. 
Begone !" 

As I have already remarked, I do not intend to give a 
general history of the martyrs : I wish only to describe 

1 Ad Scapul. 

Preface. 4 7 

the heroic acts of some of the most remarkable of them. 
No one should be astonished that at times I do not 
relate all the circumstances that are found in other 
books ; I have only taken care to mention most authen 
ticated facts, drawn from trustworthy authors, omitting 
a few particulars which I do not reject as being false, 
but which appear to me to be doubtful, as they are 
taken from uncertain and suspected acts. According to 
Cardinal Baronius, 1 " it is better to relate a few facts of 
undoubted certainty, than to risk the introduction of 
any dubious circumstances, by indulging in lengthy 
details, because the few facts given upon respectable 
authority will always be received with satisfaction by 
the reader, while the detection of any dubious matter 
would make him suspect even that which is in reality 

In compliance with this excellent advice, we shall en 
deavor to select the best authenticated facts, while we 
intend to avoid, on the other hand, the extreme of scep 
ticism. For such it would be to reject the testimony of 
an author whose authority is generally received, or who 
has the characters of antiquity, probity, learning, and 

I say this because there are certain writers who seem 
to take merit to themselves by doubting everything. 
An accurate discrimination in the selection of facts and 
authorities is a homage due to truth ; but even this may 
be carried to an excess bordering on scepticism ; for as 
it is a weakness to put faith in everything we find re 
corded, without the concurrent testimony of competent 
authority, so, on the other hand, it is rashness to receive 
everything with doubt. We should not refuse belief to 
the wonderful acts of the martyrs ; but on the contrary, 
we should be persuaded that God can work in his saints 

1 ;lnn. 307. 

48 Preface. 

more wondrous effects than the weakness of our under 
standings can comprehend. 

In describing the following triumphs of the martyrs 
I have with the utmost diligence consulted the most 
learned and accurate authors. I have retrenched all 
superfluous words as well as certain unimportant de 
tails, and have endeavored to present clearly and con 
cisely only the substance of the facts, selecting those that 
most abound in generous traits and in useful instruc 
tion ; in a word, those that are most conducive to spirit 
ual edification. 

ittartnrs of ll)c firet 



February i. 

ST. IGNATIUS, also called Theophorus, that is, one that 
carries God, lived in the first century of the Church. He 
was a disciple of the apostles, particularly of St. John ; 
by them he was baptized, and subsequently ordained 
Bishop of the Church of Antioch which had the honor 
of having been founded by the Apostle St. Peter, and 
as the place where the disciples of Jesus Christ were first 
called Christians. 

St. Ignatius undertook the government of this church 
after the death of Evodius, the successor of St. Peter, 
which occurred in the year of the Lord 69 ; although 
Cardinal Orsi 1 cites the opinion of some who would 
have it that St. Ignatius was the immediate successor of 
St. Peter. Our saint governed his flock with such zeal 
that all the churches of Syria consulted him as an ora 
cle. In the persecution of Domitian he had to suffer 
much, and labored, at the risk of his life, for the preser 
vation of the faith, animating his flock to be faithful to 
the death. He longed for the glory of martyrdom, fre- 

1 Jstor. t t f/. 1. 3, n. (.). 

50 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

quently saying that he could not be persuaded of his 
love for Christ till he had testified it with his blood. 

Upon the death of Domitian in the year 96, the tem 
pest abated under Nerva, his sucessor, But during this 
time heretics did not cease to trouble the Church ; this 
is the reason why the saint, writing to the faithful of 
Smyrna, recommended them not to have any communi 
cation with them : " Be satisfied," he said to them, "with 
merely praying to God for those who abstain from the 
Eucharist, because they deny it to be the flesh of Jesus 
Christ, who died for our sins." 

In the year 105 the persecution was renewed by the 
Emperor Trajan. This prince, after his conquest of 
the Scythians and the Dacians, published an edict 
which obliged all, under pain of death, to offer sacrifice 
to the gods. Marching afterwards against the Par- 
thians, he arrived at Antioch ; and, hearing with how 
much zeal and success St. Ignatius propagated the 
Christian religion, he called him to his presence and 
thus addressed him: "Art thou that wicked demon 
called Theophorus, who taketh pleasure in violating 
our edict of sacrificing to the gods, and dost continue 
to seduce the inhabitants of this city by preaching the 
law of Christ?" Ignatius replied: "Yes, prince, I am 
called Theophorus ; by no one can Theophorus be 
called a demon, because the devils fly from the servants 
of God. If thou callest me a devil because I endeavor 
to defeat the machinations of the devil, I well deserve 
the name." Trajan asked him the signification of the 
term Theophorus; the saint replied, "It signifies the 
bearer of God. " The emperor replied : " Thou earnest 
God in thy heart ; and we, have we not also in our 
selves the gods that assist us ?" The saint answered 
with enthusiasm : "It is an error, O prince! to give the 
name of gods to the demons that you adore : there is 
only one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, 

CHAP. LI St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch. 51 

and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son." The emperor 
replied, "Dost thou speak of Him who \vas crucified 
under Pontius Pilate?" "Yes," answered the saint, "of 
Him I speak who has confounded the malice of devils, 
and placed them beneath the feet of those Christians 
who carry God in their hearts." He added that Trajan 
would be more happy, and his empire more prosperous, 
if he would believe in the Lord Jesus ; but the emperor, 
heedless of these exhortations, offered to make him a 
priest of Jupiter and a member of the senate if he 
would sacrifice to the gods. The saint replied that he 
was content to be a priest of Jesus Christ, for whom he 
ardently desired to shed his blood. Trajan, filled with 
anger, then pronounced sentence upon the saint that 
he should be conducted in chains to Rome, and de 
voured by wild beasts at the public games. 

St. Ignatius having heard the sentence, raised his 
eyes to heaven, and exclaimed : " I thank Thee, O Lord, 
because that Thou hast vouchsafed to make me worthy 
of giving Thee a proof of my love by sacrificing my life 
for Thy faith ; I desire, O Lord, that the beasts may 
hasten to devour me, that I may make to Thee the sac 
rifice of myself." He then stretched forth his hands to 
be chained, kissing the manacles as they bound him ; 
and with tears recommending his church to God, he 
was conducted by the soldiers to Seleucia, and thence 
to Smyrna, accompanied by two of his deacons, Philo 
and Agathopodus, who are believed to be the authors 
of his acts. Wherever the saint passed, he ceased not 
his exhortations to the faithful to persevere in faith and 
prayer, to be enamoured of the riches of heaven, and to 
despise those of this earth. The Christians came, in 
great numbers, to meet him and to receive his blessing, 
especially the bishops and priests of the churches of 
Asia, who, as they perceived him going so joyfully to 
martyrdom, wept in the tenderness of affection. Hav- 

52 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

ing arrived at Smyrna, he embraced St. Polycarp, and 
they mutually consoled each other ; he thence wrote 
to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Trallia. 
Amongst other things, he says to the Ephesians : " I 
carry my chains for Christ, which are to me spiritual 
pearls, more prized than all the treasures of the world." 

Knowing that from Smyrna some Ephesians had to 
go to Rome by a route shorter than his, he conveyed by 
them his celebrated letter to the Romans ; the letter is 
long, but a few passages are particularly worthy of 
being transcribed ; they are as follows : 

" Suffer me to be the food of wild beasts, whereby I 
may attain unto God. I am the wheat of God, and am 
to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, in order that 
I may be found the pure bread of Christ. ... I ear 
nestly wish for the wild beasts that are prepared for 
me, whom I heartily desire may soon dispatch me ; I 
will entice them to devour me entirely and suddenly, 
that they may not spare me as they have others whom 
they feared to touch ; but, if they are unwilling to med 
dle with me, I will even compel them to it. Pardon 
me, my children, I know what is good for me ; I now 
commence to be a disciple of Christ, since I have no 
desire for anything visible or invisible, so that I may 
attain to Jesus Christ. Let fire or the cross, or the con 
course of wild beasts let cutting or tearing of the flesh 
let breaking of bones and cutting off limbs let the 
shattering in pieces of my entire body, and all the tor 
ments invented by the devil, come upon me, so I may 
but attain unto Jesus Christ. ... It is better for me to 
die for the sake of Jesus Christ, than to rule to the ends 
of the earth. . . . Pardon me, brethren ; be not my 
hindrance in attaining to life, for Jesus Christ is the life 
of the faithful ; whilst I desire to belong to God, do not 
ye yield me back to the world. . . . Permit me to imi 
tate the Passion of Christ my God ; let none of you 

CHAP, i.i >SV. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch. 53 

who are present attempt to succor me be rather on 
my side, that is, on God s ; entertain no desire of the 
world ; having Jesus Christ in your mouths, let no envy 
find place in your breasts. Even were I myself to en 
treat you, when present, do not obey me, but rather 
believe what I now signify to you by letter. . . . My 
love is crucified! ... I take no pleasure in the food of 
corruption, nor in the enjoyment of this life. I desire 
the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, and 
for drink his blood. . . . Pray for me, that I may pos 
sess God. If I consummate my sacrifice this will be a 
sign that you have given your consent, and that ye 
truly love me." 

He next arrived at Troas, whence he wrote epistles 
to the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and to his 
friend St. Polycarp, to whom he recommended the 
church of Antioch. The soldiers fearing that they would 
arrive too late at Rome, because the public games 
were nearly at an end, hastened their march, to the 
great satisfaction of the holy martyr, who ardently de 
sired to be at the place of execution. When he was near 
Rome, the Christians came in great numbers to meet 
and salute him. They thought, as Fleury relates, 1 to in 
duce the people to solicit his pardon, but the saint re 
peated what he had stated in his letters, and prevented 
all interference. On entering Rome, he knelt down 
with the other Christians to offer himself to God, and 
fervently prayed that peace might be restored to the 
Church. He was then conducted to the amphitheatre, 
where immense numbers were assembled ; and, hearing 
the bellowings of the wild beasts, he repeated the mem 
orable words of his epistle to the Romans : " I am the 
wheat of God, and am to be ground by the teeth of 
wild beasts, in order that I may be found the pure 

1 Hist, ccc I. 1. 3, n. 12. 

54 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

bread of Christ." The saint was instantly devoured by 
lions, as he had desired to be, and at the moment of 
his death he was heard to invoke the adorable name of 

Only the larger bones of his body were left ; these 
were collected and brought to Antioch by his two dea 
cons, to whom he appeared on the following night, re 
splendent with glory. His martyrdom took place on 
the 2oth December, of the year 107. After the destruc 
tion of Antioch by the Saracens, his relics were removed 
to Rome, and placed in the Church of St. Clement where 
at the present day they are venerated with great devo 
tion. His name has been inserted in the canon of Mass. 

The acts of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius are found 
in the collection of Ruinart, entitled : Acta Primorum 
Marty rum Sine era. 



June 16. 

ST. JULITTA was a noble lady of the city of Iconium, in 
Lycaonia. During the reign of the Emperors Dioclesian 
and Maximian, a most cruel tyrant called Domitian 
was governor of the province. While the persecution 
was raging most violently, St. Julitta took her infant 
son Cyr, 1 only three years old, and accompanied by two 
female servants, fled for safety to Seleucia, in Isauria; 
where, however, she found Alexander, the Proconsul of 
Cilicia, who exercised a no less barbarous cruelty .than 
Domitian against those Christians who refused to sacri- 

1 In Latin, Cirycus or Quiricus. 

CHAP, ii.] SS. Julitta and Quiricus. 55 

fice to the gods. The saint passed from Seleucia to 
Tharsis, where Alexander arrived about the same time, 
Having been recognized, she was arrested and conducted 
before the judge with the infant Quiricus in her arms. 
Fire and incense were produced, in order that, renounc 
ing Jesus Christ, she might sacrifice; but the saint an 
swered: " I am a Christian, and therefore am prepared 
to lose not only my property, but even my life, rather 
than deny my God." The judge frequently urged her 
to abjure her faith; but she who wished to compensate 
her temporal loss by the acquisition of eternal gains 
uniformly replied: "I am a Christian: I cannot deny 
Jesus Christ." 

Alexander, infuriated by her constancy, ordered that 
the child should be torn from her embrace, and that she 
should be cruelly scourged; but the holy lady under this 
torture fervently and continually repeated: "I am a 
Christian: I cannot sacrifice to your gods." Quiricus, 
meanwhile, was beholding the agonies of his mother, 
and struggled to return to her embrace; but Alexander, 
to quiet him, placed him on his knee, and endeavored 
to kiss him. The child, however, kept his eyes fixed con 
tinually upon his parent, and by plunging and kicking, 
tried to free himself from the tyrant, crying out at the 
same time: "I also am a Christian." The inhuman 
wretch dashed the child from him, and the agonizing 
mother, seeing the steps of the throne bespattered with 
the blood and brains of her infant, exclaimed: " I give 
Thee thanks, O my God ! for having called my boy be 
fore me to Thyself." 

The brutal judge, still more infuriated by this excla 
mation, caused her sides to be torn with iron hooks, and 
boiling pitch. to be poured upon her feet. Meanwhile 
one of the bystanders said to her: "Julitta, have pity 
upon thyself; perish not as thy son has perished; sacri 
fice to the gods." " I cannot," she replied, " sacrifice to 

56 Martyrs of the First Ages. FPART i. 

devils and to mute statues. I adore the Lord Jesus, and 
wish to meet my son in heaven;" upon which the judge 
decreed that she should be beheaded. This sentence 
filled the saint with joy. Arrived at the place of her 
last struggle, she cast herself upon her knees, as Father 
Massini relates in his beautiful work of the lives of the 
Saints, according to the acts of the martyrs by Ruinart. 
She then prayed after the following manner: "O God, 
who hast been pleased to admit my child to a participa 
tion of the glory of Thy saints, turn Thine eyes of mercy 
towards me also, and grant me a place among the souls 
destined to love Thee and adore Thee forever." Having 
finished her prayer her head was at once cut off. It is 
thus that Julitta, with her heart all inflamed with holy 
love and full of joy, consummated her sacrifice in the 
year 304. l 

1 We think it our duty to rectify several passages of this narration, in 
which the author has confused two holy martyrs of the same name and 
of the same period, but not of the same place. She whose victory St. 
Basil describes in his homilies was of Caesarea in Cappadocia, when she 
was denounced as a Christian by the spoliation of her property, and 
then condemned to be burnt alive, because she had steadfastly refused 
to offer incense to the idols, as we read in the martyrology, July 30. 
This was at the beginning of the persecution of Diocletian in 303. She 
was courageous enough to place herself at once on the funeral pile. 
After the execution her body was found entire, without change; then it 
was interred in the vestibule of the cathedral church, where afterwards 
a fountain sent forth miraculous water which healed many sick persons. 
All these circumstances have reference to St. Julitta of Caesarea. As 
for St. Julitta of Iconium, the mother St. Cyr, the martyrology men 
tions her, June 16. She was recognized and arrested as a Christian on 
her arrival in Tharsis. After seeing her son perish in a manner so cruel 
and yet so consoling, she was subjected to various tortures, and termi 
nated her triumph by being beheaded. Her body and that of her son 
were then cast out of the city with those of other crimjnals ; but her two 
servants who had taken flight and had hidden themselves, came secretly, 
carried them away, and carefully buried them in the field. Later on, when 
peace was restored to the Church, under the great Constantine, one of 
them who was yet living discovered the precious deposit, which became 

CHAP, in.] St. Vincent, Deacon. 57 



January 22. 

ST. VINCENT, one of the most celebrated martyrs of 
Spain, was born in Saragossa, of one of the most re 
spectable families of that city. While very young, he 
was placed under the tutelage of Valerius, Bishop of that 
church, who with great pains instructed him in the doc 
trines of religion, giving him at the same time a very 
extensive acquaintance with human science. Vincent, 
having made wonderful progress in learning, was or 
dained deacon by this prelate, who being himself pre 
vented from preaching by an impediment in his speech, 
entrusted this office to Vincent. The young Levite 
discharged this important duty with such success that a 
great number of sinners, and even of pagans, was con 
verted at his discourses. 

At that time, namely, in the year 303, Spain was under 
the rule of Maximian; and Dacian was governor of the 
province of Tarragona, in which Saragossa was situated. 
This Dacian was a most cruel man, and an unrelenting 
persecutor of the Christians. Hearing of the manner 
in which Vincent advanced the Christian faith, he had 

the object of the veneration of the faithful. Dom Ruinart and the 
other authors cited by St. Alphonsus are in accord with these facts, the 
narrative of which is drawn from a letter of Theodore, Bishop of Ico- 
nium. Giry and Butler add that St. Amator, Bishop of Auxerre from 
388 till 418, carried to France the relics of St. Cyr and of St. Julitta, 
and distributed them in several places, especially at Nevers, Toulouse, 
St. Amand in Flanders, etc. Churches and monasteries were conse 
crated in their honor, and they were venerated in the West as well as in 
the East. El). 

58 Martyrs of the First Ages. CPART I. 

him arrested, together with his Bishop, Valerius, and 
brought to Valencia, where he resided. He caused them 
to suffer much in prison, thinking that by maltreatment 
lie would render them easier to be tampered with, but 
he soon perceived that this means did not correspond to 
the end he had in view. When they had been brought 
into his presence, he first endeavored by kindness to 
induce them to apostatize. To Valerius he represented 
that his declining age and infirmity required that repose 
which he might obtain by obeying the imperial edicts, 
but if he resisted he would feel the effects of their just 
anger. Then turning to Vincent he said: "You are 
young, and should not despise the reward of fortune 
which you may earn by abandoning your religion. 
Obey, young man, the commands of the emperors, and 
do not, by refusal, expose yourself to an ignominious 

Whereupon Vincent, turning to Valerius, who as yet 
had made no reply to the governor, said: "Father, if 
thou wilt, I shall answer for thee." The saintly bishop, 
resolved to suffer for Jesus Christ, replied: "Yes, my 
son, as I formerly entrusted to thee the preaching of 
God s holy word, I now charge thee to manifest our 
faith." The holy deacon then declared to Dacian that 
they adored one only God, and could not worship the gods 
of the empire, who were devils, adding: " Do not think 
to shake our fortitude with threats of death or promises 
of reward, because there is nothing in this world which 
can be compared with the honor and pleasure of dying for 
Jesus Christ." Dacian irritated by such liberty of speech 
said to the holy deacon: "Either you must offer incense 
to the gods or you must pay with your life the contempt 
that you show." To this Vincent, raising his voice, re 
plied as follows: "I have already told you that the 
greatest pleasure and the most distinguished honor 
that you can procure for us is to make us die for Jesus 

CHAP, in.] St. Vincent, Deacon. 59 

Christ. You may rest assured that you will tire of in 
flicting torments sooner than we of suffering them." 

Dacian condemned Valerius to banishment, and re 
solved to wreak his vengeance upon Vincent. 

He first caused him to be stretched upon the rack, by 
which horrid machine the saint s arms and feet were so 
distended, that the bystanders could hear the noise of 
the dislocation of his joints, which remained attached 
only by the over-stretched and relaxed sinews. Dacian 
perceived the placid meekness with which the young 
martyr endured his torments, and, as Fleury observes, 1 
heard him say, " Behold, what I have ever desired is now 
being accomplished ! Behold the happy consummation 
of what I have always sighed for!" The tyrant hence 
concluded that the executioners were remiss in making 
him feel the torments, and caused them to be beaten with 

He then commanded that the sides of the saint should 
be torn with iron hooks, until the ribs should be visible; 
and, knowing how much the pain would increase by 
allowing the wounds to cool, and then opening them 
afresh, he ordered this torture, which was inflicted with 
great cruelty, until the bowels appeared, and the blood 
flowed in torrents. Meanwhile, as Orsi relates, the 
martyr insulted the tyrant, saying: " Since thy cruel 
ministers have exhausted their strength, come, thou 
chief butcher, and help them; stretch forth thy wicked 
hands and slake thy thirst in my blood. Thou art de 
ceived, thinking that torments can overcome my faith 
within me there is another man strengthened by God, 
whom thou canst not subdue." 

Hereupon, seeing his constancy, Dacian ordered a 
cessation of his tortures, begging of the saint, for his own 
sake, that if he persisted in refusing to sacrifice to the 

1 Hist, cccl 1. 8, n. 46. 

60 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART T. 

gods, he would at least give up the sacred books to be 
burned. Vincent answered that lire was not created by 
God to burn holy books, but to torture the wicked for 
ever: nor did he hesitate to admonish him, that if he did 
not abandon the worship of idols, he would be one day 
condemned to eternal flames. The governor, more in 
censed than ever, condemned him to the most cruel of 
torments that of being broiled on a species of grid 
iron studded with sharp points. The saint hearing this 
barbarous command, walked with joy to the frightful 
engine, in anticipation of his executioners: such was 
his eagerness to suffer. Upon this gridiron the saint was 
stretched at length, and bound, hand and foot, while the 
fire burned beneath. Red-hot plates of iron were placed 
on his mangled flesh; and his wounds were rubbed with 
salt, which the activity of the fire forced deeper into his 
burned and lacerated body. In the midst of these tor 
tures, the countenance of the martyr evinced the inward 
consolation and joy of his soul, while, with eyes raised 
to heaven, he blessed the Lord, and besought of him to 
receive his sacrifice. All admired the prodigious forti 
tude with which God inspired the holy youth, and the 
pagans themselves exclaimed that it was miraculous. 

The effect that the spectacle of such patience produced 
obliged Dacian to remove him from the public view. 
Yet, not content with the tortures he had already in 
flicted, he caused him to be thrown into a dungeon, his 
feet placed very wide apart, in wooden stocks, the pain 
of which was so great that many martyrs died under it. 
His body was then stretched on potsherds, which, open 
ing his wounds afresh, caused the most painful anguish. 
In order to weary his patience, strict orders were given 
that no one should be admitted to see or offer him the 
least consolation; but the saint at midnight perceived his 
dungeon illuminated by a celestial light, and perfumed 
by a heavenly odor. The Lord then sent his angels to 

CHAP, m.i St. Vincent, Deacon. 61 

console him, to intimate that his tortures were at an end, 
and to assure him of the reward of his fidelity. The 
jailers, being awakened by the splendor of the light, ap 
proached, and heard the martyr in concert with the 
angels rendering praises to the Lord. They believed and 
avowed the Christian faith. 

Dacian being informed of this, ordered that the saint 
should be removed from prison to a soft bed, and that 
his wounds should be healed, with the intention of re 
newing his torments when he would be sufficiently re 
covered to bear them. The faithful being permitted to 
visit and console him, kissed his wounds and absorbed 
the blood in their napkins, which they preserved as most 
precious relics. But the time for our saint s triumph had 
arrived, and he expired in the embraces of his brethren; 
while his soul was wafted, by the angels who had assisted 
him, to the regions of everlasting bliss. 

The tyrant on hearing of his death commanded that 
his body should be exposed to be devoured by wild 
beasts; but a raven was sent by God to defend it with 
its claws and beak, even against a wolf that had come to 
devour it. Dacian having exhausted his malice, ordered 
that the body should be put in a sack, and, with a heavy 
stone tied to it, cast into the sea; but there is no power 
against the Lord the body floated like a feather on the 
water and was carried by the waves as far as Valencia. 
The mariners tried to get possession of it, but before 
they could reach it, it was carried by the waves on the 
seashore and covered with sand. 

The saint afterwards appeared to a pious lady named 
lonica, and indicated the place where his body lay. She 
went there, accompanied by other Christians, and find 
ing the relics, deposited them in a little chapel; after the 
persecution had ceased, they were translated to a mag 
nificent church outside the walls of Valencia, where they 

62 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

have always been regarded with devout veneration.* St. 
Augustine attests that at his time the feast or St. Vincent 
was celebrated with a special joy in all the countries 
whither the Christian religion had penetrated. 1 

The acts of the martyrdom of this great saint are 
among the number of those that Ruinart has tran 



November 4. 

ST. AGRICOLA was a gentleman of the city of Bologna 
at the time of the persecution of Diocletian. He led a 
very pious life; by his universal kindness he conciliated 
to himself the esteem and affections of all, even the 
pagans. He had in his service a very holy man, called 
Vitalis, who served him with great fidelity. As they 
both ardently loved Jesus Christ, they assisted each other 
in the practice of virtue, and encouraged each other to 
shed their blood for the faith, when God should so ordain 
it. But it was the lot of Vitalis to obtain the crown 
first to go before, as St. Ambrose says, and prepare 
a place for his master in heaven. 

The enemies of the faith having seized him, tortured 

1 " Quae hodie regio, quousque Christianum nomen extenditur, natalem 
non gaudet celebrare Vincentii ?" Serm. 276, E. B. 

* About the year 864, adds Alban Butler, the relics of St. Vincent 
were carried to the abbey of Castres, in Languedoc to withdraw them 
from the sacrilegious fury of the Moors; part of them were given to the 
abbey of St. Germain-des-Pres; those that were deposited at Castres 
were burnt by the Huguenots about the end of the sixteenth century. 
Aimon, who wrote the history of the translation of these holy relics from 
Valencia to Castres, relates several miracles that attended it. ED. 

CHAP, iv.] St. Agricola and St. Vitalis. 63 

him so cruelly that his entire body was one wound; but 
Vitalis remained firm to the death. As the termination 
of his struggle approached, the Lord Jesus sent an angel 
to show him, in a vision, the crown which was being 
prepared for him in heaven. Whereupon Vitalis, with 
his dying breath, pronounced this prayer " Jesus, my 
Saviour, and my God ! command my longing soul to 
come to Thee, to receive the crown which has been 
shown me by Thy angel." Having uttered these words, 
he expired. 

The persecutors vainly hoped that by the torments and 
death of Vitalis they would induce his master, Agricola, 
to abjure the faith. They, however, soon discovered that 
all their arguments to induce him to obey the imperial 
edicts, by sacrificing to the idols, were vain; for Agricola, 
far from being dismayed by the cruelties practised upon 
his servant, derived from them greater courage, and a 
still more ardent desire to be made worthy of the crown 
that awaits those who lay down their lives for Jesus 
Christ. He had the happiness of dying, like his Saviour, 
nailed to a cross. 

The bodies of these two martyrs, together with the 
instruments of their martyrdom, were buried in a ceme 
tery, where they lay unknown until it pleased God to 
manifest the place of their burial to St. Ambrose. This 
holy bishop, when passing through Bologna, in the year 
393, found the depository of these precious relics, and 
transferred them, with becoming solemnity, to a neigh 
boring church. He took a portion of the blood of the 
martyrs, and of the cross of St. Agricola, which he had 
found in the sepulchre, and carried them to Florence, 
and placed them under the altar of a church which he 
afterwards consecrated in that city. 

St. Ambrose preached upon the occasion, and from his 
sermon these facts have been extracted. They are to be 
found also in Ruin art. 

64 Martyrs oj t/ic First Ages. [PART i. 



April 28. 

ANOTHER holy martyr by the name of Vitalis was a 
citizen of Milan, of noble descent ; the entire family 
were Christians, and his conduct was most exemplary. 
He had served in the army of the einperor, and was con 
sequently on terms of friendship with Paulinus, the con 
sul, trusting to whose favor he assisted the persecuted 
Christians, succored them in their need, and visited them 
in their prisons or in the caverns where they lay con 

Paulinus was a great enemy of the Christians, but, not 
knowing that Vitalis was one, invited him to travel to 
Ravenna. On their arrival our saint heard that a certain 
Christian, named Ursicinus, by profession a physician, 
had been condemned to torture, and seemed frightened 
at the approach of death. Vitalis, leaving the consul, 
ran to the spot, and finding Ursicinus almost ready to 
yield, exclaimed: "How is this, my friend ? Thou hast 
the crown almost within thy grasp. Having already 
suffered so much, wilt thou miserably lose it ? To avoid 
these short pains, wilt thou cast thyself into everlasting 
torments ? Thou hast cured the maladies of others ; 
wilt thou now condemn thyself to eternal deatli ? En 
liven thy faith ! Have confidence in Jesus Christ ! 
Bravely consummate the sacrifice of thyself." Upon 
this exhortation the constancy of Ursicinus revived, and 
he gave his life for Jesus; upon which Vitalis carried off 
his body and respectfully interred it. 

Information having been given to Paulinus of all that 

CHAP, v.] St. Vital is of Ravenna. 65 

had passed, he said to Vitalis: " How then ! art thou 
mad, to have acted as thou hast, not being a Christian ?" 
The saint instantly replied : " Nay, but I am a Christian, 
and am proud to be so. Nor am I mad either. He is 
mad who gives to wicked men the honor due to God. 
There is but one only God : this God we adore, and we 
glory in dying for his sake." 

Paulinus loved Vitalis, but his hatred to the Christians 
prevailed over this feeling, and he ordered Vitalis to be 
imprisoned ; who, finding himself in the company of 
other confessors, made such manifestation of his joy, that 
Paulinus became infuriated, and commanded all his 
joints to be dislocated upon the rack, and his sides to be 
torn with iron hooks. During these tortures the holy 
martyr ceased not to preach Jesus Christ, whereupon he 
was thrown into a ditch and buried alive beneath a tor 
rent of stones, on the 27111 of April, of the year 171, 
according to Baron i us. 

As St. Vitalis expired, one of the priests of Apollo, who 
had incensed the tyrant against him, was possessed by 
a devil ; full of rage, he cried out: "Thou tormentest 
me, O Vitalis ! thou burnest me." Seven days after, he 
cast himself into a river and was drowned. 

The relics of this saint are deposited in a magnificent 
church at Ravenna, built upon the place of his martyr 

On the day dedicated to the honor of St. Vitalis, com 
memoration is made of his wife, St. Valeria, who, while 
returning from Ravenna, after the death of her husband, 
was so beaten and maltreated by the pagans for her 
faith, that she expired on the second day after her ar 
rival at Milan. She is also honored as a martyr. 

66 Martyrs of tlie First Ages. [PART i. 



January 26. 

ST. POLYCARP was a disciple of the Apostle St. John, 
and was born about the seventieth year of the Christian 
era. He was a Christian from his infancy, and on ac 
count of his extraordinary piety was greatly beloved 
by the apostles, his teachers. St. Irenaeus, Bishop of 
Lyons, writes that lie had had the good fortune, when 
young, to know our saint, who was then far advanced in 
years, and remark show strongly impressed on his mind 
were the instructions which he had received from him, 
and with what delight he remembered having heard him 
recount his conversations with St. John and others who 
had seen the Redeemer. 

St. Polycurp was consecrated Bishop of Smyrna by 
St. John himself before this apostle s banishment to the 
Island of Patmos. It is looked upon as certain that our 
saint was the angel, or Bishop of Smyrna, commended 
by the Lord in the Apocalypse: And to the angel of the 
church of Smyrna write . . . I know thy tribulation and thy 
poverty ; but tJwu art rich. . . . Be thou faithful unto death, 
and I will give tJiee the crown of life. 1 

Our saint governed the church of Smyrna seventy 
years, according to Fleury, 2 with so much prudence and 
approbation that he was regarded as the principal of the 
Asiatic bishops, on account of the great veneration in 

1 " Scio tribulationem tuam et paupertatem tuam ; sed dives es. . . . 
Esto fidelis usque ad mortem, etdabo tibi. . . . coronam vitae." Apoc. 
ii. 9. 

Hist. eul. 1. 3, n. 48. 

CHAP, vi.] St. Poly carp, Bishop of Smyrna. 67 

which he was held. When eighty years of age, he went 
to Rome to consult with Pope Anicetus on some points 
of discipline, particularly regarding the time at which 
Easter should be celebrated. St. Polycarp s delay in 
Rome was very useful to the faithful, as it afforded 
him an opportunity of confuting the heresies of that 
period. Meeting the heresiarch Marcion, who inquired 
of the holy bishop whether he knew him ; " Yes," an 
swered the saint, " I know thee to be the first-born of the 

On his return to Asia, he suffered much in the perse 
cution which the Emperor Marcus Aurelius raised against 
the Church, and which was particularly felt at Smyrna, 
where the proconsul, Statins Quadratus, was exercis 
ing the most barbarous cruelty against the faithful. 
Amongst other acts of persecution, he caused twelve 
Christians, who were brought from Philadelphia, to be 
devoured by wild beasts. Excited by this bloodshed, the 
pagans were loud in their demands for the slaughter of 
the Christians, particularly of Polycarp, who failed not 
on his part to encourage his flock to the most heroic 
proofs of constancy, in suffering torments and death for 
Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding the continual clamor 
raised against him, the saint wished to remain in the 
city for the discharge of his pastoral duties, but was 
obliged, by the importunity of the faithful, to retire to a 
house without the city, where, during his stay, he oc 
cupied the entire night and day in holy prayer. 

After a short time, however, he was discovered. Three 
days previouly to his arrest, he saw in a vision his pillow 
in flames, from which he knew that the martyrdom re 
served for him was that of fire, and, turning to his com 
panions, told them that he would be burned alive. The 
Christians, aware that the soldiers were in pursuit of 
him, removed him to another house; but a young servant, 
overawed by the fear of torture, revealed the place of 

68 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

his concealment. The saint was informed of this, but 
refused to retreat any farther, saying, with holy resigna 
tion : "The will of God be done." Full of heroic zeal, 
he offered himself to God as a victim destined for his 
honor, besought him to accept the sacrifice of his life, 
and joyfully delivered himself up to his pursuers. He 
received them into his house, ordered them a handsome 
supper, and desired only some time for prayer, which 
being granted, he was for two hours absorbed in medita 

The captain and the soldiers were filled with confusion 
at the sight of the venerable bishop; and unwillingly 
executing their commission, departed with him at break 
of day. As the journey to Smyrna was long, they set 
him on an ass, and were conducting him to the city, 
when they met on the road two superior officers, called 
Herod and Nicetas, who took him into their chariot, and 
endeavored to persuade him to obey the imperial edict, 
saying, among other things: "What harm is therein 
sacrificing to the gods in order to save your life ?" The 
saint answered with fortitude that he would rather 
suffer every torture, even death itself, than consent to 
what they advised. Upon this resolute answer they 
turned away in anger, regarding him as a man lost 
through his obstinacy, and pushed him from the chariot 
with such violence that his leg was bruised, or, accord 
ing to Fleury, broken by the fall. 

The saint nevertheless, with undisturbed tranquillity 
of mind, proceeded to the amphitheatre, where he was 
about to sacrifice his life. Upon entering it he heard a 
voice from heaven, saying: " Be courageous, Polycarp; 
act manfully." He was presented to the proconsul, who 
endeavored to shake his resolution, saying: " Polycarp, 
thou art old, and should free thyself from torments which 
thou hast not strength to bear; swear, therefore, by the 
fortune of Caesar, and exclaim with the people, Be the 

CHAP. vi. j St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. 69 

impious exterminated ! The saint immediately re 
plied: "Yes ! be the impious exterminated but by the 
impious I mean the idolaters." The proconsul, thinking 
that he had gained him over, said: "Now blaspheme 
Jesus Christ, and I will discharge thee." The saint re 
joined: " I have served Jesus Christ these fourscore and 
six years; he never did me harm, but much good ; how 
can I blaspheme him ? How can I blaspheme my Creator 
and my Saviour, who is also my judge, and who justly 
punishes those who deny him ?" The tyrant, still con 
tinuing to tempt him to deny Jesus Christ, Polycarp re 
plied that he was a Christian, and considered it a glory 
to die for Christ. 

The proconsul threatened him with wild beasts. " Call 
for them quickly," replied the saint; "I cannot change 
from good to evil; the beasts will help me to pass from 
mortal suffering to the glory of heaven." " Then," said 
the tyrant, " thou shalt be burned alive." The saint 
answered: "Thy fire only lasts a moment; there is 
another fire which is eternal, and of that I am afraid. 
Why dost thou delay to execute thy threats ?" This he 
said with so much intrepidity, that the tyrant himself 
was struck with admiration; he ordered, however, a crier 
to make public proclamation that Polycarp had avowed 
himself a Christian ; whereupon the entire multitude of 
pagans cried out: " Let this destroyer of our gods die !" 
The public shows having terminated, it was resolved 
that he should be burned alive, instead of being devoured 
by wild beasts. 

The pile was prepared by the pagans, and also by the 
Jews, who were particularly active in offering them 
selves as executioners. Polycarp put off his garments, 
and seeing they were about to fasten him to the 
stake, said: "Leave aside these nails: He who gives me 
fortitude to undergo this fire, will enable me to stand 
still without them." They therefore contented them- 

/O Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

selves with tying his hands behind his back, and placed 
him upon the pile, whence raising his eyes to heaven, 
the saint prayed after the following manner: "I bless 
Thee, O God, for having vouchsafed to make me a par 
taker in the Passion of Jesus Christ Thy Son, by render 
ing me worthy to offer myself as a sacrifice for Thy 
honor, that I may be enabled to praise Thee in heaven, 
and to bless Thee for all eternity." The pile was set on 
fire, yet the flames did not touch the body of the saint, 
but formed, as it were, an arch around him, while his 
flesh exhaled a most fragrant odor. The pagans, ex 
asperated to see that the fire had no effect, transfixed 
him with a spear, and such a quantity of blood issued 
from the wound as extinguished the flames. 

Thus did St. Polycarp terminate his triumph, as is re 
corded in the celebrated epistle of the Church of Smyrna, 
which may be seen in "Ruinart s Collection of the Acts 
of the Martyrs." His martyrdom took place about the 
year 160. 


April 28. 

ST. THEODORA, a native of Alexandria, was descended 
from noble and opulent Christian parents; she was born 
towards the close of the third century, and at the early 
age of sixteen years was distinguished for her beauty. 
Desirous of having Jesus Christ alone for her spouse, 
she made a vow of perpetual virginity, and her many 
admirable virtues made her a model of perfection to the 

CHAP, vii.] SS. Theodora and Didymns. 7 i 

other Christian virgins of her acquaintance. No sooner 
were the edicts of Diocletian against the Christians pub 
lished in Egypt, than our saint was inflamed with the 
holy desire of sacrificing her life for Jesus Christ, and by 
prayer commenced to prepare herself for the great 
struggle, and to make frequent offerings of herself to 

She was amongst the first of those who were arrested, 
and being presented to the judge Proculus, who was 
much struck with her beauty, was asked whether she 
was a slave or a free woman ; the saint replied that she 
was a Christian, having been freed by Christ from the 
slavery of the devil, and that she was also born of what 
the world called free parents. The tyrant, having dis 
covered that she was of noble birth, inquired why she 
had not married. St. Theodora replied that she had ab 
stained from marriage that she might live alone to Jesus 
Christ her Saviour. "But dost thou not know," con 
tinued the judge, " that it hath been commanded by the 
emperor that each one shall sacrifice to the gods, or else 
be condemned to the most infamous punishments?" 
" And thou also knowest very well," rejoined the saint, 
" that God is careful of those who serve him, and defends 
them from contamination." Proculus continued to per 
suade her to sacrifice to the gods, threatening that 
otherwise the imperial edicts should be enforced. The 
saint answered as before, adding that she was consecrated 
to Jesus Christ, and would not abandon him though she 
were torn to pieces. "I am no longer my own," said 
she, "but His: He will defend me." 

"Thou shalt pay dearly for thy obstinacy," said the 
judge; " what madness to place thy trust in a man who 
could not free himself from the death of the cross !" 
"Yes," replied the saint, " my .confidence is placed in 
Jesus Christ, who hath suffered death to grant life unto 
us; he will preserve me from all evil. I fear neither tc r- 

7 2 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

ments nor death, but, on the contrary, I long to die for 
love of my God who died for me." 

" But thou art of noble birth," said the judge, " and 
shouldst not dishonor thy family with eternal infamy." 
Theodora answered: "My glory is to confess the name 
of Jesus Christ my Saviour; he hath given me both 
honor and nobility; he knoweth how to preserve his 
dove from the hawk." 

"Thou dost but trifle," said Proculus; "instantly 
sacrifice to our gods be not insane." "I would indeed 
be insane," said Theodora, " if I were to sacrifice to 
devils and gods of brass or marble." Exasperated by 
this answer, the judge caused her to be buffeted, and 
said: " Thou wilt charge us with this dishonor; but thou 
shouldst not have dishonored our gods." " I do not 
complain," said the saint, " but rather rejoice at this 
opportunity of bearing insult for my Saviour." 

" I shall give thee," said the tyrant, " three days to 
deliberate ; after which, if thou wilt remain obdurate, 
punishment awaits thee." Theodora replied, " Thou 
mayest look on these three days as already expired; thou 
shalt find me the same then as now." The three days 
having expired, and the saint being still constant in her 
faith, Proculus said that he was bound to obey the edict, 
and commanded her to be conducted whither he had 

Upon entering the infamous place the saint fervently 
recommended herself to Jesus Christ, and was heard; 
for Didymus, habited like a soldier, mingled in the crowd, 
and obtained admission to the room where she was. 
Upon seeing him, Theodora fled from him into several 
corners of the room; but Didymus said to her: Fear 
me not, Theodora; I am not such a one as thou supposest; 
I have come to save thy honor and to set thee free. Lei 
us change habits; take thou my clothes and depart; I 
will remain here in thine." Theodora did as she was de- 

CHAP, vii.] k S\V. Theodora and Didyunis. 

/ o 

sired, and in her disguise joyfully departed from that 
place of infamy; holding down her head, she passed 
undiscovered through the midst of the crowd. 

After some time, another young man, on entering the 
apartment, was astonished to find a man there instead 
of the virgin, and in his astonishment exclaimed: "Per 
haps Christ changeth women into men !" But St. Didy- 
mus explained, and said to the idolater: " Christ hath 
not changed me from a woman to a man, but hath given 
me an opportunity of acquiring the crown of martyrdom. 
The virgin is out of your reach; I have remained in her 
place; do unto me as it pleaseth you." 

The prefect being informed of this, sent for Didymus, 
and asked him why he had so acted. He replied that 
it was in consequence of an inspiration from God. He 
was then commanded to sacrifice to the gods, and to 
make known where Theodora was. He replied, that as 
to Theodora he knew not, and as to sacrificing to the 
gods, the judge had better put in force the imperial edict, 
since he would never sacrifice to devils, though he should 
be cast into a furnace. The prefect, incensed at this 
declaration, commanded that he should be beheaded, 
and that his body should afterwards be burned. 

Didymus accordingly went to the place of execution, 
but at the same moment Theodora arrived, and with holy 
emulation contended for the crown. Didymus said: "It 
is mine, because on me hath sentence been pronounced." 
Theodora replied: " I was willing thou shouldst save my 
honor, but not my life. I abominated infamy, but did 
not shrink from death. If thou hast intended to deprive 
me of martyrdom, thou hast deceived me." Finally, the 
judge ordered them both to be decapitated, and thus 
both received the crown of martyrdom. 

The original Acts of this glorious martyrdom are 
transcribed by Ruinart. 

74 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 



ST. PHILIP was elected Bishop of Heraclea, the metrop 
olis of Thrace, in consequence of his extraordinary vir 
tue; and so fully did he correspond to the expectation 
of his people, that, while they tenderly loved him, there 
was not one among his flock who was not the object of 
his most affectionate pastoral solicitude. But there were 
two of his disciples whom he loved with peculiar affec 
tion Severus, a priest, and Hermes, a deacon, whom he 
afterwards had companions of his martyrdom. 

In the persecution of Diocletian he was advised to 
retire from the city. This, however, he refused to do, 
saying that he wished to conform to the dispensations 
of God, who knows how to reward those who suffer for 
his love, and that consequently he feared not the threats 
or torments of the tyrant. In the year 304 the saint 
was one day preaching to his people upon the necessity 
of patience and resignation, when a soldier, by the 
order of Bassus, the governor, entered the church, and 
having commanded the people to retire, shut the doors 
and sealed them ; upon which Philip said to him: 
u Dost thou think that God dwelleth in these walls, and 
not rather in our souls ?" 

Philip, although unable to enter the church, was un 
willing to abandon it altogether, and remained at the 
door with his people. Separating the good from the 
bad, he exhorted the former to remain constant in the 
faith, and called upon the latter to return to God by 
sincere repentance. Bassus, finding them assembled, 

CHAP, vin.] St. PJiitip, Bishop of Hcrac lea . 75 

caused them to be arrested, and having demanded who 
was their master, Philip answered: "I am he." The 
governor said: "Hast thou not heard the edict of the 
emperor, that in no place shall the Christians be as 
sembled, but shall sacrifice to the gods, or perish ?" He 
then commanded that the gold and silver vessels, 
together with the books that treated of the Christian 
law, should be delivered up ; otherwise that recourse 
would be had to torture. Philip replied: " For my part, 
I am willing to suffer in this my body, tottering with 
age, whatever thou canst inflict; but abandon thou the 
thought of having any control over my spirit. The 
sacred vessels are at thy disposal; but it shall be my 
care to prevent the holy books from falling into thy 
hands." Bassus, .infuriated at this answer, called for 
ward the executioners, and caused the saint to undergo 
a cruel and protracted torture. 

The deacon, Hermes, witnessing the agonies of his 
bishop, told the governor that, although he were pos 
sessed of all the holy books, good Christians would 
never fail to teach Jesus Christ to others, and to render 
him the honor he deserves. After these words the holy 
deacon was most cruelly scourged. 

Bassus commanded that the sacred vessels should be 
removed from the sacristy, that the Scriptures should 
be burned, and that Fhilip, with the other prisoners, 
should be led by the soldiers to the forum, to be exe 
cuted, in order that the pagans should be gladdened 
and the Christians affrighted by the spectacle. Philip, 
having arrived at the forum, and being informed of the 
burning of the Scriptures, spoke at length to the people 
of the eternal fire prepared by God for the wicked. 
During this discourse, a pagan priest, called Cataphro- 
nius, came carrying some meats that had been sacrificed 
to the idols. Hermes, seeing him, exclaimed: "This 
diabolical food hath been brought, that we, being 

76 Martyrs of the First Ages. IPAR.T i. 

forced to eat it, may be contaminated !" St. Philip de 
sired him to be calm. 

In the mean time the governor, arriving at the forum 
again, commanded the holy bishop to sacrifice to his 
gods. The saint asked: "Being a Christian, how can I 
sacrifice to marble ?" " Sacrifice at least to the em 
peror," said Bassus. " My religion," said the saint, 
" commands me to honor the princes, but teaches me 
that sacrifice is due to God alone." But doth not this 
beauteous statue of Fortune," said the governor, " de 
serve a victim?" The saint replied: It may receive 
that honor from thy hands, since thou dost adore it; but 
it shall not from mine." " Let then," urged Bassus, 
"this fine figure of Hercules move the.e." Here the 
holy bishop, raising his voice, rebuked the insanity of 
those who worship as gods statues that, being taken 
from the earth, like earth should be trodden upon, not 

Bassus, turning to Hermes, asked him if he at least 
would sacrifice. The holy deacon resolutely answered 
that he was a Christian, and could not do so ; and hav 
ing been told that, should he continue obstinate, he 
would be cast into flames, replied: " Thou dost threaten 
me with flames that last but for a short time, because 
thou art ignorant of the strength of those eternal flames 
in which the followers of the devil shall burn." 

Bassus, exasperated at the constancy of the saints, re 
manded them to prison. As they went along, the in 
solent rabble frequently pushed the venerable and aged 
bishop, so as to throw him down, but he with joyous 
looks quietly raised himself again. 

Meanwhile the term of Bassus government having 
expired, Justin, his successor, arrived at Heraclea. He 
was a much more cruel man than his predecessor. St. 
Philip, having been brought before him, was told that 
if he would not sacrifice, he should, notwithstanding 

CHAP, viii.] St. Philip, Bishop of Heraclea. 77 

his extreme age, have to suffer tortures that were intol- 
lerable even to youth. The venerable bishop replied : 
"Ye, for fear of a short punishment, obey men: how 
much more ought we to obey God, who visits evil-doers 
with eternal torments? Thou mayest torture, but canst 
never induce me to sacrifice." Justin : " I shall com 
mand thee to be dragged by the feet through the streets 
of the city." Philip: "God grant that it may be so." 
The bloody threat was executed ; yet the saint did not 
die in that torment, but his body was torn to pieces, 
and in the arms of the brethren he was carried back to 

After this the governor called before him Hermes the 
deacon, whom he exhorted to sacrifice, in order to 
escape the torments that were being prepared. But the 
saint replied : " I cannot sacrifice and betray my faith ; 
do, therefore, according to thy pleasure tear my body 
to pieces." "Thou speakest thus," said Justin: "be 
cause thou knowest not the pains that await thee; 
upon a trial thou shalt repent." Hermes: "Atrocious 
though they may be, Jesus Christ, for whose love I am 
about to suffer, will render them not only light, but 

Justin sent him also to prison, where the saints re 
mained for seven months. Thence he sent them before 
him to Adrianople, and upon his arrival again sum 
moned Philip to his presence, intimating to him that he 
had deferred his execution in the hope that, upon 
mature consideration, he would sacrifice. The saint 
boldly replied : " I have already told thee that I am a 
Christian, and I will always say the same. I will not 
sacrifice to statues, but only to that God to whom I 
have consecrated my entire being." Angered by this 
reply, the judge ordered him to be stripped and scourged 
until the bones and bowels were laid bare. The aged 
bishop suffered this torture with so much courage, that 

78 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

Justin himself was astonished. Three days afterwards 
he was again summoned before the tyrant, who inquired 
why it was that with so much temerity he continued to 
disregard the imperial edicts. The saint replied : " That 
which animates me is not rashness, but the love I bear 
my God, who one day shall judge me. In worldly mat 
ters I have invariably obeyed the rulers, but now the 
question is, whether I will prefer earth to heaven. I am 
a Christian, and cannot sacrifice to thy gods." 

Seeing that he could not shake the constancy of the 
holy bishop, Justin, turning to Hermes, said : " This old 
man is weary of life, but thou shouldst not be so reck 
less of it: offer sacrifice, and consult thy safety." 
Hermes began to show the impiety of idolatry, but 
Justin hastily interrupted him, saying : " Thou speakest 
as if thou wouldst persuade me to become a Christian." 
" I earnestly desire," said the saint, "that this should 
happen not only to thee, but to all those who hear me." 

Finally, the tyrant, perceiving that he could not win 
over these generous confessors, pronounced sentence in 
the following manner: "We command that Philip and 
Hermes, for having contemned the imperial edicts, shall 
be burned alive." Sentence having been pronounced, the 
saints proceeded to the place of execution, evincing by 
their holy joy that they were two victims consecrated 
to the Lord. But from having been tortured in the 
stocks their feet were so sore that the holy bishop had 
to be supported, while Hermes with great difficulty fol 
lowed, saying to Philip : " Let us hasten, Father, nor 
care for our feet, since we shall no longer have need of 
them." When they came to the place of their martyr 
dom, according to the custom of the country, they were 
placed standing in a trench, and covered with earth up 
to the knees, in order that they might not be able to 
flee from the fire. Upon entering the trench, Hermes 
smiled with holy joy, and the fire having been kindled 

CHAP, viii.] St. Philip, Bishop of Heraclea. 79 

by the executioners, the saints began to thank Almighty 
God for their death, terminating their prayer and their 
martyrdom with the usual "Amen." * 

Severus, who was the other disciple of St. Philip, had 
beenleft in prison while his holy bishop consummated his 
martyrdom in the flames ; and having been informed of 
his glorious triumph, was deeply afflicted at not having 
been able to bear him company ; hence he earnestly be 
sought the Lord not to think him unworthy of sacrific 
ing his life for his glory. His prayers were heard, and 
on the following day he obtained the desired crown. 

The martyrdom of these saints is related by Cardinal 
Orsi, 1 who quotes Ruinart. 

1 Istor. Eccl. 1. 9, n. 33. 

* After the execution their bodies were found entire and fresh as in full 
health, without any trace of fire. St. Hermes, though a simple deacon, 
was a distinguished man. He had been first magistrate of the city of 
Heraclea, and had fulfilled the duties of his office with so much wisdom 
that he conciliated the esteem and veneration of all his fellow-citizens. 
After having renounced everything to devote himself to the service 
of the Church, he took the resolution to live only by the labor of his 
hands, like the great Apostle, and he had a son named Philip whom Re 
brought up in the same principles. While the executioners were set 
ting fire to the pile in which he was to be consumed, and perceiving one 
of his friends in the crowd, he called him and said: " Go, and tell my 
son: These are the last words of your dying father words that he 
leaves you as the most precious marks of his affection. You are young: 
avoid as dangerous everything that can weaken your soul; above all, 
avoid sloth; keep the peace with every one. " The flames having risen 
prevented him from continuing. These details are given by Ruinart. 

So Martyrs of t/ie First Ages. LPART i. 



November 27. 

The Christian religion had been for a long time per 
secuted in Persia, but during the reign of King Isde- 
gerdes it had enjoyed a peace of twenty years. A 
certain bishop, named Abdas, set fire to a temple, in 
which was an idol worshipped by the Persians; and this 
circumstance gave rise to a fierce persecution of the 
Christians, since Isdegerdes, infuriated by the fact, 
gave orders that all Christian churches should be 
levelled with the earth, and that all his subjects should 
profess only the Persian religion. 

James, overcome by the fear of losing his property 
and the honors he enjoyed at court, obeyed the iniqui 
tous decree. But his mother and his wife, most exem 
plary Christians, who were then absent, having heard of 
his fall, wrote to him a letter, in which, after exhorting him 
to repair his grievous error, they said : " If thou wilt not 
return to the good path from which thou hast departed, 
we shall treat thee as a stranger, and separate from 
thee ; it behooveth us not to have any communication 
with one who hath abandoned his God to please men, 
and to secure to himself the perishable things of this 
life, which will cause him to perish everlastingly." 

James, whose conscience continually upbraided him 
with his apostasy, was strongly affected by the letter; and 
he began to reflect that if his nearest relatives thus re 
proached him, how much more would he have to fear 
the censure of the Eternal Judge. While he bewailed 
the publicity of his sin, lie resolved that his repentance 

CHAP, ix.] 6V. James y Sur named Inter cisus. 81 

should be equally notorious, and took frequent occasion 
to express himself in the following terms: " I am a 
Christian, and I repent that I have abandoned the faith 
of Jesus Christ." 

The king upon hearing this was much enraged, and 
considering himself personally offended by the insult 
offered to the gods whom he adored, ordered him to be 
conducted to his presence. The saint appeared before 
the tyrant, who reproached him with fickleness, and 
threatened him with the most cruel death unless he im 
mediately sacrificed to the gods of the Persians. But the 
saint replied that he \vas a Christian, that he sincerely 
repented of his apostasy, and that he wished to continue 
no longer unfaithful to his God. The tyrant, in trans 
ports of rage, commanded that his body should be 
chopped to pieces, limb by limb, in order, as he said, 
that others might be deterred from following his ex 

The saint intrepidly offered himself to this horrible 
torture. The executioner first cut off the thumb of his 
right hand, telling him that if he would obey the king his 
torments should cease there. But James was anxious 
to give his life for Jesus Christ, and to repair the scandal 
he had given by having denied him; presenting, there 
fore, each limb to the executioners, he suffered them to 
be cut off, joint by joint, without a moan. The faithful 
witnessed his martyrdom with great edification, until, 
his body being reduced to a mere trunk, his head was 
struck off. This happened on the ayth of November, in 
the year 420, and from the nature of his martyrdom he 
was called Intercisus, that is, cut into pieces. 

The constancy of this martyr makes us better under 
stand the efficacy of the grace of Jesus Christ, since by 

1 This was, according to Alban Butler, in 421, during the reign of 
Vararanes V. , son and successor to Isdegerdes, who died a short time 
after he had rekindled the fire of persecution in 420. ED. 

82 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

it he was enabled to suffer this cruel butchery not only 
with resignation, but with great spiritual joy. All the 
martyrs were, of themselves and as men, vile and w r eak, 
but they were enabled by Jesus Christ, who strengthened 
them, to suffer their trials with fortitude, and to obtain 
the victory. Let us also have confidence in the assist 
ance of Jesus Christ, and whenever we find our strength 
or courage to falter under trial or temptation, let us in 
stantly have recourse to him, praying him to succor us 
by the merits of his precious blood. If we but do this 
with fervent faith we also may be sure of triumph. 
The martyrdom of St. James the Intercisus is related by 
Father Massini, who collected the particulars from his 
Acts in Surius, November 27. 



August 5. 

THE history of St. Afra is related by most respectable 
authors, such as Fleury, 1 Orsi, 2 and Massini. 3 Penitent 
sinners may receive great encouragement from the con 
sideration of the fortitude communicated to this penitent 
by the Lord, which enabled her to suffer the martyrdom 
of fire; and also from the consideration of the wisdom 
given to her, by which she answered the insidious argu 
ments that were intended to pervert her. 

St. Afra was a citizen of Augsburg, in Rhaetia (Ba 
varia), and a pagan of so dissolute a character, that her 

1 Hist. eccl. 1. 8, n. 48. - 1st or. cccl. 1. 9, n. 46. 3 Race, di V. Gag. 

CHAP, x] St. Afra the Penitent. 83 

house and its inmates were used by her for the infamous 
purpose of corrupting the youths of that city. But the 
triumph of divine grace appeared the more brilliant in 
bringing this most wretched creature from the very 
lowest abyss of infamy to the glory of martyrdom. 

It is believed that St. Afra, together with her mother 
and entire family, was converted by the holy bishop, St. 
Narcissus. From her Acts, found in Ruinart, it would 
appear that she had always before her eyes the deformity 
of her crimes, and was tortured by the recollection of 
them; so that when she had embraced the faith, she en 
deavored to get rid of the price of her infamy by giving 
liberally to the poor; and when some Christians, al 
though in extreme penury, refused to receive from her 
what had been the wages of sin, she would beseech of 
them to accept it, and pray to God for the remission of 
her grievous offences. Thus did this holy penitent 
prepare herself to receive from God that glorious palm 
which she finally obtained. 

The persecution of Diocletian was raging when St. 
Afra was arrested and brought before the judge named 
Gaius, who said to her: " Come now, sacrifice to the 
gods; it is better to live than to die amid torments." 
The saint replied: "The sins which I have committed 
before I knew the true God are sufficient; wherefore I 
cannot now do that which thou commandest. I never 
will do so: it would be adding a new insult to my God." 

The judge having ordered her to repair to the temple, 
she answered with great courage: " My temple is Jesus 
Christ, whom I have continually before mine eyes, and 
to whom I every day confess my sins. Since I am un 
worthy to offer him any other sacrifice, I am anxious to 
sacrifice myself, in order that this body, with which I 
have offended him, may be purified by torments; this 
reflection shall make me suffer most willingly." 

"Since, therefore," said Gaius, "by reason of thy 

84 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

wicked life thou hast nothing to expect from the God of 
the Christians, thou hadst better sacrifice to our gods." 
The saint replied: " My Lord Jesus Christ has said, that 
he descended from heaven to save sinners. We read in 
the Gospel, that a sinful woman, having washed his feet 
with her tears, obtained from him the forgiveness of all 
her offences; and, moreover, that he never rejected sin 
ful creatures nor publicans; but, on the contrary, con 
descended to converse and even to eat with them. 

The iniquitous judge was not ashamed to counsel her 
to return to her infamous practices, in order that she 
might gain the favor of her gallants, and enrich herself. 
"I renounce," said the penitent saint, " that execrable 
gain, and look upon it with horror. That which I had, 
I have cast from me and given to the poor, imploring 
them to accept it; how, then, can I consent to earn it 
again ?" 

After this the discussion was continued in the follow 
ing manner: 

Gaius said: " Thy Christ esteemeth thee unworthy of 
him; in vain thou callest him thy God; he will have 
nothing to do with thee; a common prostitute cannot be 
called a Christian." 

"True," replied Afra, "lam unworthy of this name; 
but my God, who chooseth not persons according to 
their merits, but according to his own goodness, hath 
been pleased to accept me, and make me a participator 
of his name." 

Gaius: " And whence knowest thou that he hath done 
thee this favor ?" 

Afra: " I know that God has not cast me off, since he 
has given me strength to confess his holy name; and I 
feel a hope within me that I can thus obtain the pardon 
of all my sins." 

" These are foolish stories," replied the judge; " sacri 
fice to our gods; because they alone can save thee." 

CHAP, x.] St. Afra the Penitent. 85 

" My salvation/ answered the saint, " depends alone 
upon Jesus Christ, who, while hanging on the cross, 
promised heaven to a robber that confessed his sins." 

Gaius replied: "If thou wilt not sacrifice, I shall 
cause thee to be stripped and whipped publicly, to thy 
great shame." 

Afra: " I am ashamed only of my sins." 

"And I," said Gaius, "am ashamed to be losing my 
time in disputing with thee. Sacrifice to the gods, or I 
shall condemn thee to death." 

Afra replied: "That is what I desire, since I hope thus 
to find an eternal repose." 

Gaius threatened that if she would not sacrifice, he 
would order her to be tortured and burned alive. 

The saint courageously replied: " Let this, my body, 
which hath been the instrument of so many sins, under 
go every torment; but let my soul not be contaminated 
by sacrificing to demons." 

The judge then pronounced sentence upon her, in the 
following words: " We ordain that Afra, a prostitute, 
who has declared herself to be a Christian, and has re 
fused to sacrifice to the gods, be burned alive." 

The place selected for the execution of this terrible 
sentence was a little island in the river Lech. The saint, 
having been conducted to this place, and the execution 
ers having tied her to the stake, she raised her eyes to 
heaven, and prayed after the following manner: " O 
Lord Jesus Christ, who earnest to call, not the just, but 
sinners to repentance, and who hast vouchsafed to make 
known unto us, that, upon whatever day the sinner shall 
return to Thee by contrition, Thou wilt forget all his of 
fences; receive me now, a poor sinner that offers herself 
to suffer this torture for Thy love. By this fire, which is 
about to burn my body, deliver my soul from everlasting 
flames." At the termination of this prayer, fire was set 
to the pile, and the saint was heard to say: " I give Thee 

86 Martyrs of tJie First Ages. [PART i. 

thanks, O Lord, who, being innocent, didst offer Thyself 
a sacrifice for sinners; and being the Blessed of God, 
didst vouchsafe to die for us children of wrath. I give 
Thee thanks, and offer myself a sacrifice to Thee, who, 
with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest 
world without end. Amen." Having concluded her 
prayer she expired. 

Her three servants, Eunomia, Digna, and Eutropia, 
were standing on the banks of the river witnessing her 
martyrdom. As they had been partners in her vice, 
they had also imitated her in her conversion, and had 
been baptized by the holy Bishop St. Narcissus, Know 
ing that their mistress was now dead, they crossed over 
to the island; and the news having reached Hilaria, the 
saint s mother, she also came, accompanied by some 
priests: they took the saint s body and carried it to the 
family bury ing-place, two miles distant from Augsburg. 
Gaius, having been informed of this, sent a troop of 
soldiers with orders to arrest all who were at the bury- 
ing-place, and, in case they refused to sacrifice, to shut 
them up in the sepulchre, 1 and burn them there. This 
barbarous order was cruelly executed, and thus all these 
holy women received the crown of martyrdom in the 
year 304. 

1 The sepulchres of the ancients, says Fleury, were high buildings, 
often large enough to contain rooms. St. Hilaria and the three other 
saints martyred with her are inscribed in the martyrology, August 12. 

CHAP, xi.j St. Sabimis, Bishop of Spoleto. 87 



December 30. 

THE persecution under the emperors Diocletian and 
Maximian is considered as the most violent that the 
Church has had to endure; and yet the triumph of the 
Christian faith was never more glorious than under these 
two notable tyrants. It was considered as a capital 
offence for Christians to absent themselves from the 
public games; and not only in the principal towns, but 
even in the smaller villages, gibbets were prepared to 
execute those who would dare to confess the name of the 
Lord Jesus. Irons, scourges, racks, caldrons of boiling 
oil, and all the apparatus of torture were everywhere in 
readiness for those who refused to sacrifice to the idols. 
The cruelty of Maximian went so far as to ordain that 
in the market-places, in the mills, in the bakers shops, 
and in the taverns idols should be set up, to which every 
body should show some mark of idolatrous veneration, 
on pain of being arrested. Yet, notwithstanding this 
wholesale butchery, never were there seen greater mul 
titudes of Christians professing a desire to suffer and to 
die for Jesus Christ; so that the number of holy martyrs 
amounted at that time to eight millions. 1 

St. Sabinus, who was, during this persecution, Bishop 
of Spoleto in Umbria, going through all the towns of his 
diocese, ceased not to exhort his flock to seek a union 
with God in holy prayer, that they might be enabled by 
his grace to suffer tortures and death in testimony of 

1 Of the number of martyrs mention was made on page 33. 

Martyrs -of the First Ages. [PART i. 

his holy faith. Venustianus, who was then governor 
of Tuscany, having heard of the pious labors of the holy 
Bishop, caused him to be arrested at Assisi, with his two 
deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, and others of the 

Upon the arrival of this tyrant at Assisi, he summoned 
the bishop and his two deacons before him, and having 
inquired of Sabinus who he was, the saint replied: " I am 
the bishop, although an unworthy sinner." " And how," 
said the governor, " hast thou dared to teach the people 
to abandon the worship of the gods, and to follow a dead 
man?" Sabinus replied: " Thou knowest that he died, 
but dost not know that he rose the third day; and yet 
thou shouldst know it." The governor angrily ex 
claimed: "Sacrifice to the gods, or thou shalt die by 
torture as thou deservest: then mayest thou rise again 
like thy Christ." The saint answered: "This is my de 
sire to die and rise again, as did the Lord Jesus." 
Sabinus continued to preach Jesus Christ. 

The governor, however, sent for an idol which he 
always kept by him a small coral image of Jove, with 
robes sculptured in gold and commanded all present to 
adore it; but Sabinus, animated with holy zeal, dashed 
the idol to the earth, and broke it to pieces. Venustianus, 
exasperated at this insult offered to his idol, caused both 
the hands of the holy prelate to be instantly cut off. 

He then ordered Marcellus and Exuperantius to be put 
to torture, for having also refused to adore his gods. He 
had their flesh torn with iron hooks, and their bodies 
burned with lighted torches; in which torments they 

St. Sabinus, who was present animating his compan 
ions, was sent to prison by the governor, in the expecta 
tion that he would die of the pain caused by the amputa 
tion of his hands, or perish by hunger, in case this should 
prove insufficient to cause death. 

CHAP, xi.] k $Y. Sabimis, Bishop of Spoleto. 89 

But a pious widow, called Serena, found means to sup 
port the holy bishop; and her charity was rewarded by 
the saint, who, by praying over her nephew, restored to 
him his sight. This miracle worked the conversion of 
fifteen prisoners who were present. 

Venustianus, the governor, allowed the saint to remain 
unmolested for a month, being tortured by an excessive 
pain in his eyes. All remedies having proved useless, he 
was advised to have recourse to the saint, and accord 
ingly sent his wife and two children to Sabinus. When 
the saint came to his house, Venustianus threw himself 
at his feet, beseeching him to forget the tortures which 
he had caused him to suffer, and imploring at the same 
time the cure of his eyes. Sabinus told him that if he 
would become a Christian he should be relieved from 
the pain at his baptism. Venustianus consented, was 
instructed in the Christian religion, received baptism, 
together with his entire family, and instantly re 

St. Sabinus had the consolation of seeing this entire 
family receive the crown of martyrdom; for the emperor 
Maximian sent the tribune Lucius with orders to put 
Sabinus and Venustianus to death. Lucius upon his ar 
rival at Assisi, without any trial whatever, caused Venus 
tianus, with his wife and children, to be instantly be 
headed; and brought Sabinus with him to Spoleto, 
where he had the holy bishop scourged to death. 1 

Serena, a noblewoman of this city, who had procured 
the hands, and had kept them embalmed by her, placed 
them with the body, and buried the saint at a place 
two miles distant from the city. A magnificent church 

1 According to certain authors, St. Sabinus consummated his martyr 
dom December 7, 304, although the martyrology mentions him on De 
cember 30. Giry adds that the virtuous Serena also obtained the crown of 
the martyrs some time after, and that she is honored at Metz, January 
30. ED. 

90 Martyrs of tJie First Ages. . [PART i. 

was subsequently raised over the place of his inter 

The martyrdom of this saint is related by Fleury in 
his Church History. 1 



August 12. 

ST. EUPLIUS obtained the crown of martyrdom in 
Sicily during the persecution of Diocletian and Maxim- 
ian. He was arrested while reading the Gospel in the 
city of Catana, and brought before the governor, Cal- 
visianus, with the sacred volume in his hand. The 
governor asked him whether he had brought those writ 
ings from his own house, or happened to have them 
about him. The saint replied: " I have no house; I carry 
them about me, and was arrested with them." The 
judge ordered him to read something from them; and the 
saint read the two following texts: Blessed are they that 
suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of 
Heaven? And: He that will come after Me, let him take up 
his cross and follow Afe. 3 The judge inquired the meaning 
of these words. Euplius replied: "This is the law of 
God, which hath been given me." "By whom ?" "By 
Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God." " Since, 
then, thou dost confess thyself a Christian," said Calvisi- 
anus, " I shall deliver thee to the executioners, that 
they may torture thee." 

While the saint was undergoing the torture, Calvisi- 
anus said to him: " What dost thou now say of thy con- 

1 Livre 8, n. 39. 2 Matt. v. 10. 3 Ibid. xvi. 24. 

CHAP, xn.i St. Euplius, Deacon. 91 

fession ?" The saint replied: " That which I have said 
I now repeat: I am a Christian !" " But why," said the 
judge, " didst thou not give up those writings as the em 
perors have commanded ?" " Because I am a Christian. 
I will sooner die than deliver them. In them is eternal 
life, which is lost by him who would betray what God 
has intrusted to his keeping." The tyrant ordered his 
tortures to be continued, and Euplius said: "I thank 
Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ. Since I suffer for Thy 
sake, do Thou preserve me." The judge said: "Adore 
the gods, and thou shall be set at liberty." The saint 
replied: " I adore Jesus Christ, and detest the demons. 
Torture as much as thou pleasest, still shall I proclaim 
myself a Christian." 

After the saint had been tortured for a considerable 
time, the tyrant exclaimed: "Wretch that thou art! 
worship our gods; adore Mars, Apollo, ^Esculapius." 
The martyr answered: " I adore the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost, one only God; besides whom there is 
.no God. May your gods find no worshippers ! I offer 
myself a sacrifice to the true God; nor is it possible to 
change me." Calvisianus gave orders that his torments 
should be increased to the utmost; and while this was 
being performed, Euplius was heard to say: "I thank 
Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ. Since I endure these tor 
ments for Thy sake, do Thou succor me." Although the 
agony of his torments caused his voice and strength to 
fail him, his lips still moved, as if he would repeat this 

At last Calvisianus, seeing that the constancy of the 
saint was not to be overcome, commanded his head to be 
struck off. The book of the Gospels was tied round his 
neck, and, while he was proceeding to the place of exe 
cution, the public crier proclaimed before him: "This 
is Euplius the Christian, an enemy to the gods and 
to the emperors." But the saint ceased not to return 

92 Martyrs of the First Ages. IP ART i. 

thanks to Jesus Christ, until he arrived at the place 
of execution, when, casting himself upon his knees, 
he said: " O Lord Jesus Christ ! I give Thee thanks for 
having granted me strength to confess Thy holy name. 
Complete, O Lord, what Thou hast begun, that Thy ene 
mies may be confused." Then, turning to the people 
who had followed him, he said: " Brethren, love the Lord 
with all your hearts; for he never forgets those who love 
him. He remembers them during life and at the hour 
of their death, when he sends his angels to lead them to 
their heavenly country." Having said these words, he 
presented his neck to the executioner, who struck off his 
head, on the i2th of August, in the year 304. The Chris 
tians carried off his body, embalmed and buried it. The 
Acts of his martyrdom are found in Ruinart. 



May 1 8. 

BY the example of St. Theodotus we are taught the 
important lesson, that there is no state of life in which a 
man may not become a saint. He was a citizen of 
Ancyra, the capital of Galatia, was a married man, and 
followed the humble calling of an innkeeper. Although 
his life presented to the eyes of the world nothing extra 
ordinary, it was one of sanctity before God: since having 
been disciplined in the fear of the Lord from his youth, 
by a holy virgin called Thecusa, he practised temper 
ance, chastity, and the mortification of the flesh, by fast 
ing and other penitential works. As he loved poverty, 
he gave to the poor whatever he could afford; and his 
inn was the home of the needy, the asylum of the infirm, 

CHAP, xiii] St. Theodotus, Vintner. 93 

and a school of Christian piety. He converted many 
from the practice of a shameful vice and from other 
crimes, and also brought many, both Jews and Gentiles, 
to the profession of the true faith, a considerable num 
ber of whom arrived at the glory of martyrdom. He had 
likewise the gift of miracles, particularly that of healing 
the sick, which he effected by laying his hands upon 
them, and invoking the adorable name of Jesus. 

The persecution of Diocletian was raging, and Theo- 
tecnus, a most cruel man, was governor of the province 
of Dalmatia. He commanded that all the churches 
should be demolished, and that all who were known to 
be followers of Jesus Christ should be slaughtered. The 
pagans, animated by the cruelty of the governor, en 
tered the houses of the Christians, and plundered what 
ever they thought tit; and if any one dared to complain, 
he was accused of being a rebel. Every day Christians 
were put into prison, and even noble ladies barbarously 
dragged through the streets; so that many hid them 
selves in caves, or flew to the woods, living, like the 
beasts, upon wild herbs. 

Theodotus remained in Ancyra, where he employed 
himself in assisting those who had been imprisoned for 
the faith, helping those in need, and burying the bodies 
of the martyrs. Moreover, as the governor had forbid 
den bread or wine to be sold to any one who was not 
known as an idolater, Theodotus supported the poor, and 
supplied the priests with bread and wine for the celebra 
tion of the Mass. Thus, by the charity of Theodotus, his 
inn became the temple and asylum of the Christians. 

Having been informed that a certain friend of his, 
named Victor, had been imprisoned for the faith, he went 
by night to see him, and encouraged him, saying: "A 
Christian should have no other concern than firmly to 
maintain his faith." Having learned that most enticing 
promises had been made to him in case he would re- 

94 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

nounce his faith, Theodotus said: " Believe me, my dear 
Victor, the promises which the impious make to us are 
for our perdition; they are intended to make us slumber 
in order that we may not see the eternal death to which 
they lead us." Victor, animated by this exhortation, 
went boldly to the place of torture; but having suffered 
for some time, demanded a respite to consider the pro 
posals made to him. He was accordingly brought back 
to prison, where he soon died of his wounds, leaving his 
eternal salvation in great doubt, to the inexpressible 
grief of Theodotus. 

Some time after this sad occurrence our saint met a 
priest, named Fronto, in a country place called Malus, 
and told him that he thought it a most appropriate spot 
for placing the relics of the martyrs. The priest replied 
that the relics should be procured before the work would 
be undertaken. Theodotus said: "God will take care of 
that. Let it be thy concern to build the crypt, and the 
relics shall not be wanting." As an earnest of this prom 
ise, he gave the priest a ring from his finger, and re 
turned to Ancyra. 

Here he learned that the bodies of seven martyred 
virgins had been cast into a pond, and was miraculously 
assisted in releasing them; for there arose a strong wind 
that drove the waters to the sides of the pond, and dis 
covered at the bottom the bodies of the saints, which he 
drew out and placed in a neighboring oratory. 1 

Informations to this effect having been lodged against 
him, he voluntarily surrendered himself to the magis- 

1 These glorious victims of the most odious of tyrannies were all of an 
advanced age; but this did not hinder the tyrant from subjecting them, 
through hatred of their religion, to the most shameful indignities. 
Among them was particularly noticed St. Tecusa, of whom mention was 
made above, the names of the six others are: Alexandra, Claudia, 
Faina, Euphrasia, Matrona, and Julitta. See the martyrology, May 18. 

CHAP, xiii.] St. Theodotus^ Vintner. 95 

trates. On entering the court the governor, Theotecnus, 
told him that if he sacrificed to the gods he would be 
made high-priest of Apollo, and be loaded with riches 
and honors. Theodotus, despising all, undertook to 
prove to the governor the greatness and sanctity of Jesus 
Christ, and the enormity of the vices which the pagans 
themselves attributed to their false gods. But Theo 
tecnus, angered by this discourse, ordered that he should 
be stretched upon the rack, and that, one after another, 
the executioners should tear his flesh with iron hooks; 
after which vinegar was poured into his wounds, and 
lighted torches applied to his sides. 

When the saint smelt the burning of his flesh he 
turned his head somewhat aside, which the governor 
mistaking for a sign that he was yielding to the torments, 
approached him and said: "Where now, Theodotus, is 
that daring thou didst so lately glory in ? Hadst thou 
respected the emperor, thou wouldst not now be reduced 
to this piteous state ? Vile innkeeper ! thou shall learn 
not to contend henceforward with emperors who have 
power over thy life." Theodotus replied: " If thou hadst 
arrested me for any crime, then I should fear. As it is, 
I fear nothing. Invent new torments, and my Lord 
Jesus Christ, for whose love I suffer, will grant me 
strength to disregard them." The governor enraged at 
these words, caused his jaws to be struck with a stone so 
as to beat out his teeth, upon which the saint said: " Al 
though thou shouldst cut out my tongue my prayers 
cannot be interrupted, for God hears the Christians even 
when they are deprived of their speech." The governor 
having ordered him back to prison he showed his wounds 
to the crowd as he went along, giving them thereby to 
understand the strength which Jesus Christ imparts to 
his servants. " It is only reasonable," he said, " to suffer 
thus for our Lord, who has suffered so much for us." 
At the end of five days, the governor, seated upon a 

96 Martyrs of the First Ages. FPART i. 

throne in one of the public squares, ordered the martyr 
to be again brought before him. He then commanded 
that his wounds should be reopened, his sides again torn 
with irons, and that in this state he should be stretched 
upon red-hot tiles. The saint, says Cardinal Orsi, 
feeling a most excruciating pain, penetrating to his very 
bowels, prayed that the Lord would somewhat mitigate 
his suffering ; and having obtained additional consola 
tion, continued to endure this horrible torture with ad 
mirable fortitude. 

The tyrant had him stretched upon the rack a third 
time, and caused him to be lacerated as before ; but 
ultimately despairing of being able to overcome his con 
stancy, condemned him to lose his head, and ordered 
that his body should be burned. Arrived at the place of 
execution, the saint gave God thanks for the grace which 
had enabled him to overcome his torments, and fervently 
implored peace for the Church. Then turning to the 
Christians, who had followed him with many tears, he 
consoled them, and desired that they should give God 
thanks for his victory, assuring them that he would not 
fail to assist them by his prayers in heaven. He then 
presented his neck to the executioner, and received the 
crown. His body was placed upon a funeral pile to be 
burned, but appeared surrounded with a light so super- 
naturally resplendent that no one dared approach it. It 
was therefore left guarded by soldiers. 

Upon that same day the priest Pronto arrived in 
Ancyra with the ring which Theodotus had given him, 
as an earnest that God would supply relics for the place 
previously prepared at Malus. He had with him an 
ass laden with excellent wine, and the animal upon reach 
ing the place where the martyr s body was being watched 
instantly lay down. It was night; the soldiers, who had 

1 Is tor. eccl. 1. 9, n. 21. 

( HAP. xiv.i >S /. Trypho and St. Rcspicius. 97 

retired to eat their supper in a little hut, invited the priest 
to join them, and Fronto gladly complied, giving them 
in return some wine. The guard, having drunk freely, 
fell into a sound sleep, while Fronto, adoring the won 
drous ways of divine Providence, took the body of 
Theodotus, and, replacing his ring, laid it upon the ass. 
The animal being let loose, went back to Malus, where a 
church was subsequently built in honor of St. Theodotus. 
His martyrdom took place in the beginning of the per 
secution under Diocletian, in the year 303. 

Cardinal Orsi says that his acts were written by one 
Nilus, his most intimate friend, and an eye-witness of 
the facts herein recorded. 



November 10. 

THESE two holy martyrs, Trypho and Respicius, were 
natives of Bithynia, and having been educated from 
their infancy in the Christian faith, were young men of 
exemplary virtue. Aquilinus, the governor of the 
province, being informed that they were Christians, or 
dered them to be arrested, upon which they returned 
thanks to God, who made them worthy to suffer for his 
sake, beseeching him at the same time to accept their 
sacrifice, and grant them strength to persevere to the 
death. After their arrest they were conducted to Nice 
and imprisoned. Aquilinus, having summoned them to 
his presence, inquired of what condition they were, and 
what was their fortune. The youths replied: "Chris 
tians know not what fortune is, since they believe that it 

98 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

is God who regulates all things according to his infinite 
wisdom." The officers who accompanied the governor 
said to them: "All of your religion are to be burned 
alive unless they sacrifice to our gods. Such is the im 
perial command." The holy prisoners answered: " We 
are not afraid to suffer for our religion; on the contrary, 
we desire it." 

The governor here interposed, saying: "Ye are now 
old enough to know what ye ought to do." "Yes, 
answered Trypho, " and it is because we are well aware 
of it that we follow Jesus Christ. All that we desire is, 
to arrive at the perfection of this knowledge; and we 
think, moreover, that the surest road is that which we 
have just commenced to tread," The judge, seeing thei r 
constancy, ordered them to be tortured; but they hear 
ing the command, forthwith stripped themselves and 
were placed upon the rack, which torture they endured 
with the most astonishing fortitude and tranquillity. 
During the torments they did not even open their mouths, 
except to invoke the adorable name of Jesus, or to give 
Aquilinus to understand the eternal damnation to which 
he exposed himself by following the worship of idols. 
But the governor despised all their exhortations, and 
gave orders that as he was going to hunt, the martyrs 
should be exposed in the fields to the severity of the frost 
until his return. The order was executed, and by reason 
of the excessive cold the martyrs legs were burst in 
many places. 

After his return from the chase the tyrant asked them 
whether they would not now learn to be wise. "This, 
indeed," said Trypho, " is what we are anxious to learn, 
through the homage we render to our God." Hereupon 
the governor sent them to prison; and having made an 
excursion to some other cities, returned to Nice, where 
he again summoned the martyrs before him. Speaking 
in a kind manner, he promised them riches and honors 

CHAP, xiv.] St. Trypho and St. Respicius. 99 

if they would obey the imperial edicts; but finding them 
still constant, he said: " Have pity upon your youth; de 
spise not the favors which you may obtain from us." 
Trypho answered: "We cannot better follow your ad 
vice than by remaining steadfast in our confession of 
Jesus Christ." 

Aquilinus, enraged at their firmness, caused them to 
be dragged through the streets of the city, and to be 
scourged until the executioners became exhausted. He, 
moreover, ordered their sides to be torn with iron hooks, 
and their lacerated flesh to be burned with torches; 
during which butchery the martyrs said: "O Jesus our 
God, for whom we thus combat and suffer, permit not 
that the devil overcome us. Hear Thou our prayers, 
and grant that we may happily arrive at the consumma 
tion of our course." Thus did the saints continue to 
speak to Jesus Christ without heeding the tyrant, who 
during their tortures ceased not to importune them to 
sacrifice to the gods. Seeing, however, that all his 
efforts were unavailing, he condemned them to lose their 
heads. They suffered about the year 251. 

Their Acts are found in Ruinart. 1 

1 Such are in substance the Acts that Ruinart admits to be true in his 
second edition (A m stela-dam i, 1713). We must, however, observe that 
according to other authorities, confirmed by the Roman Breviary, St. 
Respicius was a tribune who, at the sight of the superhuman courage 
shown by St. Trypho while he was tortured, opened his eyes to the 
faith, at once declared himself a Christian, and was united to the glorious 
martyr. Their relics have been transported to Rome and deposited in 
the Church of the Holy Ghost. ED. 

i oo Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 




November 18. 

THE martyrdom of St. Romanus is truly wonderful, 
and is celebrated by oriental writers, as well as by those 
of the Western Church. Eusebius, St. John Chrysostom, 
and Prudentius are, according to Cardinal Orsi, 1 amongst 
his panegyrists. St. Romanus was a Syrian, and de 
scended of noble and Christian parents. At a very ten 
der age he applied himself to study, in which his natural 
abilities enabled him to make great progress ; but still 
greater was the advancement which he attained in the 
science of the saints, by the sanctity of his morals and 
his zeal for religion. 

When the persecution of Diocletian began, he was 
already a deacon of the Church of Caesarea, and went 
from house to house exhorting the Christians to endure 
with becoming fortitude whatever trials that great tribu 
lation might bring upon them. His bishop, having sent 
him to Antioch on some very urgent business in the 
year 303, he found that the Christian churches were 
being pulled down in obedience to the imperial edict. 
Much as this afflicted the saint, his grief was much more 
poignant at beholding the fall of many Christians who, 
terrified by the threats of the judges, presented them 
selves to offer sacrifice ; whereupon the saint, inflamed 
by holy zeal, and regardless of his own danger, entered 
the crowd of apostates and exclaimed : " Alas, brethren, 
what is it ye do :* Do ye abandon the true God, your 

1 1st or. ( ( (/. 1. 9, n. 20. 

CHAP. xv. i SS. Rowtinns and Barnlas. 101 

Creator and Redeemer, to sell yourselves to the devil, 
your enemy? Do you offer incense to gods of bronze, 
of stone, and of wood, and do you adore as gods those 
who during life have been the most abandoned of 
men ?" By such discourse he not only withheld those 
who were about to fall, and confirmed the constant, 
but he gave courage to the pusillanimous, and dis 
posed them to brave all the persecutions of their 

Cardinal Orsi, on the authority of Prudentius, relates 
that the prefect of the praetorium, Asclepiades, having 
sent some soldiers to a church to offer, upon the conse 
crated altar, victims to the idols, and afterwards to level 
the church with the earth, the saint opposed the sacri 
legious attempt, saying that, if they wished to slay a 
victim, he was ready to offer to God the sacrifice of his 
life. Asclepiades having heard this, ordered Romanus 
to be arrested. The saint w r as advised to seek safety in 
flight, but refused to do so, and surrendered himself to 
the soldiers ; he confessed at the tribunal that he was a 
Christian, and that he had dissuaded the faithful from 
obeying the edict, which he termed impious. " I clearly 
foresee," continued the holy deacon, " that this my con 
fession will subject me to torments, but I hope to suffer 
them with constancy for the love of my God, since I 
have committed no crime." 

The prefect commanded that he should be stretched 
upon the rack and torn with irons; but having been in 
formed that the saint was a nobleman, he changed the 
punishment, and had him beaten with scourges armed 
with lead. " We shall see," said the prefect, "whether 
thou wilt speak with so much insolence during thy tor 
tures." The holy martyr replied : " God would not be 
pleased were I insolent; but by the grace of Jesus 
Christ I shall remain faithful, nor will I cease, while I 
have life, to publish his praises and to detest your su- 

IO2 Martyrs oj the First Ages. [PART i. 

perstitions." Meanwhile Romanus suffered the torture 
not only with patience but with joy, which caused 
Asclepiades to burn with rage. In order to oblige the 
saint to be silent, he would sometimes by gestures en 
courage the executioners, and at other times, in trans 
ports of anger, rise from his seat in order to intimidate 
the martyr. He then commenced to speak in praise of 
his gods, to whom, he said, Rome was indebted for her 
acquisition of empire, and added, that it was his duty 
to implore of them prosperity for the emperor, and to 
take a bloody vengeance on those that rebel against 
their authority. Romanus answered that he could not 
invent a better prayer for the princes and the soldiers 
than that they should all embrace the faith of Jesus 
Christ ; adding, that he would never obey the emperor 
in his persecution of the Christians. 

Asclepiades became infuriated beyond measure at 
these last words, and ordered that the martyr should be 
stretched upon the rack, and his sides and breast torn 
with iron hooks, until the bones and bowels should ap 
pear. But because the saint continued to despise these 
tortures, and encouraged the bystanders to be regard 
less of all temporal punishments, the prefect com 
manded that his mouth and cheeks should be torn with 
the same irons. But the saint thanked him, saying, 
that he had thus opened more mouths to celebrate the 
praises of Christ. Whereupon the judge threatened to 
burn him alive for his obstinacy fn preferring to the 
ancient religion the novel doctrines of a crucified man. 
Herefrom Romanus took occasion to celebrate the glories 
of the Cross, explaining the holy mysteries which it in 
dicated, and concluded by saying, that as Asclepiades 
did not understand these mysteries, he would give him 
an irrefragable proof of them. " Let there be brought," 
said the saint, "a child of tender years, and let us learn 
from him whether it be better to follow a religion which 

CHAP, xv] SS. Romanus and Barillas. 103 

teaches a plurality of gods, or that which adores only 

The prefect accepted the challenge, and the young- 
child, who had not been long weaned, was brought for 
ward, to whom Romanus said: "Which is better, my 
child, to adore Jesus Christ or a plurality of gods?" The 
boy replied that the true God could be only one, and 
that a plurality of gods was inconceivable. The tyrant, 
confused by this answer, turned to the child and said : 
"Who has taught thee these things?" He replied: 
"My mother, who was herself taught by God." 1 Ascle- 
piades had the cruelty to have the child torn by force 
from his mother s embrace, scourged, and beheaded. 
The Church celebrates the triumph of this infant 
martyr, named Barulas, who was baptized in his own 
blood on the i8th November. The good mother, who 
was a Christian, having heard the sentence pronounced 
against her child, carried him herself to the place of ex 
ecution, and without shedding a tear, kissed him and 
gave him to the executioner, telling him to remember 
her in heaven; she then held out her garment to receive 
his head, which she brought home as a precious relic. 

The inhuman Asclepiacles, instead of being moved at 
this miracle, which astonished all the bystanders, be 
came more infuriated and cruel: he caused St. Ro 
manus, whom he called " the author of so many evils," 
to be again put to the torture, and the fragments of 

1 A wonderful profession of faith, evidently inspired by Him who 
said : " You shall be brought before governors, and before kings for 
my sake, for a testimony to them and to the gentiles [of my divinity 
and of the truth of my doctrine], Bui. when they shall deliver you up, 
take no thought how or what to speak ; for it shall be given you in that 
hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of 
your Father that speaketh in you" (Matt. x. 18). The Holy Church 
is our mother according to faith, and it is God who has revealed to her 
the truths that she teaches us. En. 

IO4 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

flesh which still remained on his body to be pulled off; 
but the saint mocked the weakness of his executioners, 
saying, that they did not know how to deprive him of 
life. The prefect having heard this, said: "Since tliou 
art so desirous of ending thy life, thou shalt soon be 
satisfied ; fire shall quickly consume thee to ashes." 
While the executioners were leading him forward, he 
said to the judge: Perfidious man! I appeal to my 
Saviour Jesus Christ from this thy cruel sentence." The 
saint said this to give the tyrant to understand that he 
should one day render an account to the Supreme 
Judge; but Asclepiades, notwithstanding, dictated the 
final sentence, condemning the martyr to the flames. 

Meanwhile the funeral pile on which he was about to 
be burned was prepared, and while the executioners 
were tying the saint to the stake he told them that he 
knew that this sort of martyrdom \vas not destined for 
him, and that another miracle would astonish them. 
Even so it happened, for on a sudden it rained in such 
torrents that the executioners were unable to fire the 
pile, though it was covered with oil and pitch. This 
caused so great a murmur among the people, that a re 
port of the fact was sent to the emperor; and while 
they were awaiting his decision the saint mocked his 
executioners, saying, " Where is now your fire?" 

The emperor was inclined to release a man so evi 
dently protected by Heaven, yet Asclepiades not only 
dissuaded him, but even obtained an order that Ro- 
manus should lose that tongue with which he had so blas 
phemed their gods. Having, therefore, proceeded to the 
forum and summoned Romanus, he ordered a surgeon 
called Aristones to pull out his tongue, which was 
easily executed, as the saint presented it in such a man 
ner as enabled him to take it out by the root: a torrent 
of blood followed, which covered his beard and breast. 
It was a new miracle that Romanus could survive these 

CHAP, xv.] SS. Romanus and Barillas. 105 

barbarous torments; but it was a still greater prodigy 
that the saint continued to speak. Eusebius writes 1 
that in his time there were many persons yet alive who 
had witnessed this miracle. 

Asclepiades, not content with what he had already 
done, made another attempt upon the constancy of the 
saint, and caused an altar, with fire, incense, and the flesh 
of animals, to be prepared. He then brought Romanus 
forward, exhorted him to sacrifice, and concluded by 
saying in derision: <% I now give thee leave to speak." 
But the saint, raising his voice, replied that he should not 
be surprised if words were never wanting to those who 
preached Jesus Christ, to whom the laws of nature are 
subject, and who consequently enabled him to speak 
without a tongue. The tyrant, not knowing what to 
say to this new prodigy, declared his suspicions that he 
had been deceived by the surgeon, who instantly de 
manded an examination; whereupon the mouth of the 
saint was found without a tongue! This miracle was 
further tested by an experiment tried upon a criminal 
who had been condemned to death. His tongue was 
cut out, and he instantly expired. 

St. Romanus was brought back to prison and detained 
there for some months, during which time he ceased not 
to preach the glories of Jesus Christ with even greater 
energy and clearness than he had before been master of. 
Upon the celebration of Diocletian s birthday all the 
prisoners were set at liberty except Romanus, who was 
kept in prison, with his legs stretched in the stocks, as 
far as the fifth hole, and was finally strangled upon the 
iyth November, in the year 303. He thus went to 
heaven to receive the reward for all his sufferings. St. 
John Chrysostom and other Fathers of the Church have 
celebrated his martyrdom in great eulogies. 

1 DC Resurr. 1. 2. 

io6 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 



December 5. 

ST. CRISPINA was held in high veneration all through 
Africa, and is honored by St. Augustine in various parts 
of his works, in which he speaks of her martyrdom. 
She was a noble lady, very rich, and the mother of sev 
eral children. When she found herself in danger of los 
ing her children, her possessions, and her life, in the 
persecution which was then raging, instead of being in 
timidated, she was filled with a holy joy, not unworthy 
the Christian education which she had received from her 
most tender years. Being arrested in her native city of 
Thagara by order of the proconsul Anulinus, and 
brought before his tribunal, he inquired of her whether 
she was aware of the imperial edicts which commanded 
that all persons should sacrifice to the gods of the empire. 
She replied: u I have never sacrificed, nor will I sacrifice 
to any other than to one God, and to our Lord Jesus 
Christ his Son, who was born and suffered for us." 

Anulinus then said: "Leave this thy superstition, and 
adore the gods." 

"Every day," said Crispina, "I adore my God, and 
besides him I know of no others." 

" I perceive now," said the judge, " that thou art ob 
stinate, and dost contemn our gods: thou must be made 
to experience the rigor of the laws." 

"I shall suffer most willingly," replied the saint, 
" whatever may be exacted as the testimony of my 

"T will give thee to read," said the proconsul, "the 

CHAP. xvi. j St. Crispina. 107 

edict of the emperor, which it behooveth thee to ob 

The saint replied: " I observe the commands of my 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

Anulinus: "But thou shalt lose thy head, unless thou 
wilt observe the commands of the emperor, as they are 
observed throughout Africa." 

Crispina: "No one shall oblige me to sacrifice to 
demons: I sacrifice to the Lord only, who made heaven 
and earth." 

Here the proconsul began to exhort her to obey the 
edicts and to avoid the terrible consequences of the em 
peror s wrath. The saint courageously replied: "I fear 
not the anger of men; all they can do is nothing: I fear 
only God who is in heaven; and I should be lost forever 
were I to offend him by sacrilege." 

"Thou shalt not," said the proconsul, " be guilty of 
that crime by obeying the princes and adoring the gods 
of the Romans." But Crispina, raising her voice, ex 
claimed: " Wouldst thou then have me guilty of sacri 
lege before God, in order not to appear sacrilegious to 
the eyes of men ? It never shall be ! God alone is great 
and omnipotent, the Creator of all things; men are his 
creatures; what, therefore, can they do?" 

Anulinus, seeing that the saint continued firm in the 
faith, after some other invectives and threats, ordered 
that her head should be shaved, as a token of degrada 
tion, adding, that if she continued obstinate he would 
condemn her to a most cruel death. The saint answered: 
"I care not for the present life, and am only anxious 
for the life of my soul. I fear eternal torments only." 
"Instantly obey," exclaimed the proconsul, "or your 
head shall at once be struck off !" The saint meekly 
answered: "I shall return thanks to my God, for mak 
ing me worthy of this blessed lot. God is with me, that 
I may not consent to thy suggestions." 

io8 Martyrs of t lie First Ages. [PART i 

Here Anulinus exclaimed: Why do we any 
bear with this impious woman ?" Then, having caused 
the process of her trial to be read over, pronounced the 
final sentence, that Crispina should lose her head, for 
obstinately refusing to sacrifice to the gods, in obedi 
ence to the edicts. Crispina, having heard the iniqui 
tous sentence, calmly and with holy joy said: " I return 
thanks to Jesus Christ, and I bless the Lord who has 
vouchsafed thus to deliver me from the hands of men." 
She consummated her martyrdom on the 5th December, 
about the year 304. 

St. Augustine frequently proposed in his sermons the 
example of this martyr. " See," says the holy Father, 
" how St. Crispina despised all things, and life itself, for 
the love of Jesus Christ. Rich and noble as she was, 
she might have lived somewhat longer in the enjoyment 
of earthly happiness; but she would not have obtained 
everlasting life. Wisely, therefore, did she prefer to live 
forever, than to prolong for a short while her temporal 



December 6 and 16. 

TOWARDS the close of the fifth century a most cruel 
persecution was raised in Africa by Huneric, king of 
the Vandals, with the object of obliging the Catholics 
to follow the Arian heresy. This persecution is de 
scribed by St. Victor, Bishop of Vita, 2 who witnessed it 

1 In Ps. clvii. - DC Pcrsccnt. Afr. 1. 5. 

CHAP, xvn.] ,5^. Dionysia and Companions. 109 

and suffered from it. The tyrant, in the year 485, sent 
emissaries throughout Africa, with orders to spare no 
one who remained constant in the profession of the 
Catholic faith; and in pursuance of these orders, racks, 
gibbets, scourges, and torturing instruments were every 
where in requisition throughout the provinces. 1 

Among the many martyrs who, in this persecution, 
sacrificed their lives, Dionysia, a lady of the city of Vita, 
was conspicuous. The persecutors, seeing her more 
animated than the rest, were preparing to strip her, in 
order that she should be scourged with rods, when she 
said: " I am willing to suffer ; torture me as much as you 
please, but spare my modesty." These words, however, 
irritated the barbarians still more: they exposed her 
naked in the public square, and rent her flesh with 
scourges so cruelly, that the blood ran in streams down 
her body. In the midst of these torments the saint ex 
claimed : "Ministers of Satan! all that you do to dis 
honor me shall hereafter redound to my greater glory." 
Meanwhile she animated others to martyrdom, and her 
example was the salvation of almost that entire city. 

The saint had an only son, named Majoricus, of very 
tender age, w r ho trembled at the sight of her torments ; 
but the pious mother, steadfastly looking at him, said : 
"Remember, O my son ! that we have been baptized ; 
let us not lose the unsullied robes of grace, that when 
the Lord cometh to judge us, he may not say, Cast 
them into outer darkness. My child! it is the torment 
which never ends that we should fear, and the life which 
never terminates that we ought to sigh for." The 
child was so strengthened by these words, that he en 
dured torments which terminated his life; when the 
mother, embracing the dead body, ceased not to return 
thanks to God for so great a mercy. 

See chapters Ixxi. and Ixxv. 

1 1 o Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

The executioners next commenced to exercise their 
cruelty upon Dativa, the sister of Dionysia; then upon 
Leontia, ^Emilianus, Tertius, and Boniface, who were 
torn until their bowels appeared; and they expired dur 
ing the torture. 

St. Victor further relates the great torments to which 
a citizen of Suburbis, called Servus, was put. He was 
first scourged until his body was completely lacerated, 
and then hoisted high in air with ropes, and let fall 
with all his weight to the earth. After putting him 
many times to this torture, they dragged him along the 
streets, so that his flesh, being torn by the sharp stones, 
hung down in pieces upon his belly, sides, and back ; 
but the holy martyr suffered all with joy, in testimony 
of his faith. 

In the city of Cucusa also there were many who laid 
down their lives in the same cause ; among whom a lady 
named Victoria deserves special mention. She was sus 
pended in the air, while a fire was kindled beneath to 
roast her by slow degrees. While she was suffering this 
exquisite torture, her husband, who had renounced the 
faith, used all his endeavors to pervert her ; and pre 
senting his children, said to her: "Why, my wife, wilt 
thou suffer such torture? Have pity at least upon these 
children! Ah! do obey the commands of the king, and 
console these children and me." But the servant of the 
Lord closed her ears to these seducing words, and 
turned her eyes from her children, that she might raise 
her heart to God. The executioners seeing her shoul 
ders broken and her arms dislocated by being so long 
suspended, thought her dead, and left her ; but on 
being taken down she related that a virgin had ap 
peared to her, and cured her by touching her limbs. 

It is also recorded by St. Victor, that at Thipasa, in 
Mauritania, 1 many Catholics used to perform their de- 
1 Algiers. 

CHAP, xvii.] .SIS . Dionysia and Companions. 1 1 i 

votions in a private house, to avoid communicating with 
an Arian bishop who endeavored to pervert them ; but 
the impious Arian wrote of the matter to Huneric, who 
sent thither a command to amputate the right hands 
and cut out the tongues of all these pious persons. 
The barbarous order was executed ; but God enabled 
them all to speak, notwithstanding the loss of their 
tongues. St. Victor attests that these confessors of the 
faith were able to speak when he wrote, which was 
three or four years after the event; and there are other 
authors who confirm the fact. JEneas of Gaza, a phi 
losopher of the Platonic school, 1 assures us that he him 
self saw the persons and heard them speak ; and that, 
to be the more certain, he caused them to open their 
mouths, and saw plainly that they wanted their tongues. 
Procopius, also a contemporaneous writer, in the his 
tory of the Vandal war 2 affirms that many persons so 
treated under Huneric were, notwithstanding, able to 
speak. He makes special mention of some at Constanti 
nople, two of whom, having miserably fallen into a cer 
tain sin, lost this miraculous gift of speech. Also Count 
Marcellinus, in his chronicles, relates that Huneric or 
dered the tongue to be cut out from a certain Catholic 
who had an impediment in his speech, and that he after 
wards spoke plainly, giving glory to God. This author 
cites other cases which took place at Constantinople. 
Finally, the Emperor Justinian, in publishing a certain 
law, declares that he himself had heard some of these 
persons speaking. 3 

This same holy bishop informs us, that among the 
martyrs of Africa there were many holy virgins who 

1 Theophrastus . 

* DC Hello Vaini. 1. i. c. 8. Anno 484. 

:i We may recall to mind a similar miracle related above, in the mar 
tyrdom of St. Romunus, page 104. En. 

1 1 2 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

had consecrated their purity to Jesus Christ ; but the 
Arians, who, like the generality of heretics, are opposed 
to virginity, regarding with envy the edification given 
by these pious women, wrote calumnious letters to 
Huneric concerning their conduct with their spiritual 
directors, and obtained from that wicked king an order 
that they should be put to torture until they should 
confess those falsely alleged crimes. They were sus 
pended in air with great weights at their feet, and 
burned with red-hot plates of iron. Many expired 
under these torments, and those who survived remained 
crippled and burn-marked for life. The martyrology 
mentions these saints on the 6th of December. 

But God did not long delay the punishment of the 
wicked Huneric, who, as St. Victor relates, was eaten up 
alive by worms, and died, tearing his own flesh through 


February 4; 

AMONG the many martyrs of Egypt and Thebais, SS. 
Phileas and Philoromus attract particular attention, on 
account of their exalted rank and the high estimation 
in which, according to Eusebius, they were held in their 
own country. They shed together their blood for the 
faith, at Alexandria, between the years 306 and 312. 

Phileas had discharged some of the first offices of 
state, in the city of Thmuis, in Egypt. He was a pagan 
by birth, was married, and had some children, who 
were still pagans when the saint laid down his life for 
Christ. He was somewhat advanced in life when he 
was converted, but the Lord filled him with such virtue, 

CHAP, xviii.] SS. Phileas and Philoromus. 1 13 

that he deserved to be appointed bishop of his native 
place. 1 He was arrested during the persecution, and 
was conducted to prison in Alexandria. 

We have a letter written by him to his flock, while he 
was in prison for the faith and about to consummate 
his martyrdom, which shows his holy zeal and pastoral 
solicitude. He there encourages the faithful to suffer 
every torture for Jesus Christ rather than renounce the 
faith ; adducing the examples of so many saintly heroes 
who, having the eyes of their souls fixed on God, went 
joyfully to encounter death, in the full confidence that 
he would comfort his servants in the trial which would 
enable them to obtain eternal life. He then exhorts 
them to confide in the merits of Jesus Christ, and to 
keep continually before their eyes his Passion and 
death, as well as the eternal rewards which he promises 
to those who will be constant in confessing him before 

A short time after the writing of this letter the mar 
tyrs were brought before Culcian, the governor of 
Egypt, who exhorted them to have pity upon them 
selves, their wives and children, who, together with 
many relatives and friends in Alexandria, had come to 
dissuade them ; but all their arts were incapable of 
shaking the constancy of the martyrs. Phileas, stand 
ing upon the platform and being told by the governor 
to enter into himself and be wise, answered : " I have 
never lost my judgment." Culcian : u Then sacrifice to 
the gods." Phileas : " I sacrifice to one only God, not 
to many." 

1 In the primitive times, in which the Church was composed only of 
converts, it was not unusual to see married men raised to the dignity of 
the priesthood and even to that of the episcopate ; but these were 
obliged to live in perpetual continence. The ministers of the altar are 
consecrated to God, and can no longer belong to any one except to 
him. EJ>. 

114 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

"Thy conscience," said the governor, "should make 
thee sacrifice for the sake of thy wife and children." 
Phileas answered : " Conscience obliges me to prefer 
God to all things, since the Scripture saith that thou 
shalt love thy God, who created thee, above all things." 
"Which God ?" said Culcian. The saint stretching out 
his hand to heaven, said : " That God who created 
heaven and earth, and endureth forever." Culcian 
asked him : " Was Christ God ?" The saint replied : 
"Yes, truly, for he hath raised the dead to life, and 
worked many other miracles." "But how?" exclaimed 
the governor; "was a god then crucified?" "Yes." re 
plied Phileas, " he was crucified for our salvation, for 
which he willingly suffered ignominy and death ; all his 
sufferings had been foretold in the Holy Scriptures. If 
any be desirous of further information, let them come 
forward and they shall see the truth !" 

The saint then told the governor that he was anxious 
for him to execute his orders. " Then," said Culcian, 
" thou art anxious to die without reason." " Not with 
out reason," said Phileas, " but for God and for truth." 
" I would wish," said the governor, " to save thee for 
thy brother s sake." 1 But Phileas replied: " I beseech 
thee to execute that which hath been commanded thee." 
Culcian said: "If I knew thee to be poor, I would not 
desire to save thee; but thou art possessed of great 
wealth, and canst support many; sacrifice, therefore, and 
live." Phileas answered :" I will not sacrifice." Culcian: 
" Dost thou not see thy wife, how piteously she looks at 
thee ?" Phileas: " Jesus Christ, whom I serve, is our 
Saviour; as he has called me, he can also call her to the 
inheritance of his glory." 

The governor here offered him time to consider, but 
the holy bishop said: " I have given all these points suf- 

1 This brother, says Alban Butler, was one of the judges. Ei>. 

CHAP, xviii.] SS. Phileas and Pkiloromus. 1 1 5 

ficient consideration, and am determined to suffer for 
Christ." Hereupon his relatives cast themselves at his 
feet, and besought him to have compassion upon his wife 
and children; but the saint, raising his eyes to God, de 
clared that he should not think of any other relatives 
than the saints in heaven. 

Among the persons of distinction present at this 
spectacle was Philoromus, a military tribune, w r ho held 
a very high office in the administration of justice. Hav 
ing listened to the waitings of the bishop s relatives and 
the exhortations of the governor, raising his voice he 
exclaimed: "Why do you vainly endeavor to shake his 
constancy? Why do you fatigue yourselves uselessly 
with one whom you see faithful to his God ? Do ye not 
perceive that your entreaties and your tears are of no 
avail ? Tears shed from human motives cannot move 
the soul of a Christian wiio has God before his eyes." 
The entire multitude, enraged at these words of Philoro 
mus, cried out that he should be condemned to the same 
death as Phileas; whereupon the governor commanded 
that they should be both beheaded. 

As the entire crowd were proceeding, together with 
the martyrs, to the place of execution, the bishop s 
brother said with a loud voice that Phileas had de 
manded an appeal. Culcian instantly called them back, 
but Phileas said: "I have not demanded any appeal. 
Give no ear to this wretched man. I am much beholden 
to the judges who have made me a co-heir with Jesus 

Having said this he moved forward to the place of 
execution, where, having arrived together with his com 
panion, he raised his voice to the Christians and said: 
" My dear children, those of you that seek God in truth 
should be careful to abstain from sin, since the enemy 
goeth about seeking whom he may devour. As yet we 
have not suffered; we now commence to suffer, and to be 

i 1 6 Martyrs of the First Ages. FPART i. 

truly disciples of Jesus Christ. Be ye attentive in the ob 
servance of his commandments, and continually invoke 
the Creator of all things, to whom be glory forever !" At 
the termination of this exhortation both martyrs were 
beheaded. In this manner did these two heroes con 
summate their sacrifice. 1 



May 15. 

IT is recorded by Fleury, 2 that in the third century, at 
Lampsacus, a city in Lesser Asia, there were presented 
to Optimus, the proconsul, three Christians Andrew, 
Paul, and Nichomacus. 3 Being asked to what country 
they belonged, Nichomacus, first of all, raising his voice, 
answered: "I am a Christian." The proconsul having 
repeated the question to the other two, they also replied: 
"We likewise are Christians." 

Optimus then, turning to Nichomacus, ordered him to 
sacrifice in obedience to the emperor; but he replied: 
" Thou art already aware that a Christian cannot sacri 
fice to demons." The proconsul had him tortured so 
cruelly that he was about to expire, when, his courage 
failing him, the wretched man exclaimed: "I am no 
longer a Christian; I will willingly sacrifice to the gods." 
He was quickly withdrawn from the torture, but was 

1 Hist, eecles. 1. C, n. 41. 

- Their Acts are found in the collections of Ruinart. 

" As for St. Peter, who suffered with them, see Chapter XLVI, 

CHAP, xix.] SS. Dionysia and Companions. 1 1 7 

instantly possessed by a devil, and violently casting him 
self upon the earth, bit off his tongue and expired. 

St. Dionysia, a young virgin only sixteen years of age, 
having witnessed this spectacle and being deeply pene 
trated by the misfortune of Nichomacus, exclaimed: 
" O miserable wretch ! by not having suffered a moment 
longer, thou hast condemned thyself to eternal pains !" 
The proconsul hearing these words caused her to be 
dragged from out the crowd and asked her if she were a 
Christian. " Yes," she replied, I am a Christian, and 
therefore weep for that unhappy man, who, by suffering 
a little more, might have earned heaven for himself, 
whereas he will now weep for all eternity." The pro 
consul, enraged at these words, exclaimed: "Instantly 
thou shalt sacrifice to our gods, or thou shalt be igno- 
miniously treated and afterwards burned alive." Dio 
nysia answered: "My God is greater than thou, wherefore 
I fear not thy threats; he will grant me strength to suffer 
every torment for his love." Optimus then delivered her 
to two young libertines who brought her to a house; but 
there appeared a youth surrounded with a supernatural 
splendor who was ready to defend her from insult, where 
upon the young men cast themselves at her feet and im 
plored her intercession in their behalf. 

On the following morning the proconsul summoned 
before him Andrew and Paul, who had been kept in 
prison, and called upon them to sacrifice to Diana. They 
both replied: " We know not Diana nor the other demons 
whom you adore; we worship the only God." At these 
words the crowd of idolaters called upon the proconsul 
to leave the execution of the two saints to themselves; 
and he accordingly delivered them up to be stoned by the 
multitude. The saints were tied and dragged by the 
feet through the streets to the place of execution. 

While they were being stoned, Dionysia escaped from 
the guard and repairing to the place threw herself upon 

i 1 8 Martyrs of the First Ages. 

the martyrs exclaiming: " To live with you in heaven, I 
will die with you upon earth." The proconsul upon 
hearing this ordered her head to be struck off; and this 
was accordingly done. 



June 25. 

DURING the persecution of Diocletian there existed 
in the city of Sibapoli, 1 in Syria, a celebrated nunnery, 
containing upwards of fifty most exemplary religious. 
The Superior, named Briena, was a lady of noble birth 
and great virtue, and had with her a niece called Fe- 
bronia, whom she had reared from her third to her nine 
teenth year. She was exceedingly beautiful, and still 
more adorned by the most exalted virtue ; and the 
pious aunt was so careful of her that she would not al 
low her to be seen by anybody. 

Febronia, almost from her infancy, had dedicated her 
virginity to Jesus Christ ; and, having become a re 
ligious, led a life of the most perfect sanctity. She 
fasted almost the entire year, her food being only bread 
and roots, or lentils, and she sometimes passed two days 
without any nutriment at all. She slept mostly upon a 
narrow plank, and sometimes on the ground. 

It was known that there was in the convent a young 
lady of extraordinary beauty and virtue, and many per 
sons were most anxious to see her and speak with her, 
but in vain. A young widow, however, of very noble 
family, called leria, who was as yet a catechumen, cast 
ing herself at the feet of the Superior, with many tears 

1 Or Nisibis, at present Nezib in Mesopotamia. 

CHAP, xx.] k SV. Febronia, Virgin. 119 

sought, and finally obtained, an interview with Febronia; 
the conversation so inflamed her with the love of God, 
that she immediately received baptism, induced her 
family to do the same, and renouncing second nuptials, 
dedicated herself exclusively to the service of God. 

Some time after, it was reported that the emperor 
Diocletian w^as about to send the prefect Lysimachus, 
accompanied by his uncle Selenus, to Sibapoli, with 
orders to exterminate the Christians. This news spread 
terror among the Christians; and the bishop, knowing 
the danger in which the nuns would be placed, gave 
them leave to depart from the convent, which they could 
not d^> without shedding many tears. The Superior, 
however, determined to await her crown in the convent; 
and turning to her niece, she wept and said "What 
will become of thee, Febronia ?" The young virgin re 
plied : "I shall stay here, my dear aunt; what better lot 
could await me than to shed my blood for Jesus Christ !" 

The prefect Lysimachus was inclined to show favor to 
the Christians, on account of his mother, who was a true 
believer. Hence Diocletian associated with him in the 
proconsulate of the East his uncle Selenus, who was a 
mortal enemy of the Christians, and gave the command 
of the troops to Primus, with directions to obey the 
orders of Selenus. The edicts of extermination were 
first executed in Palmyra, to a horrible extent, the num 
ber of slaughtered Christians being innumerable. 

The pagans called the attention of Selenus to the nun 
nery of Sebapoli, whither a company of soldiers was 
forthwith despatched. Upon breaking open the gates 
they were met by Febronia, who casting herself at their 
feet, implored them to make her the first victim; but 
the general, Primus, struck with her appearance, went 
to Lysimachus, who was only twenty years of age. and 
informed him that he had found in the convent a lady 
of rare beauty, and apparently of noble family, whom he 

I 20 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

could recommend to him for a wife. Meanwhile one of 
the guard went to inform Selenus that Primus was en 
deavoring to have his nephew married to a Christian 
virgin, whereupon the uncle ordered that Febronia 
should be brought before him. The young lady was 
accordingly laden with chains; some of the religious 
wished to accompany her, but the soldiers refused, when 
the pious aunt, taking leave of her, said: "Go, my child, 
and show thyself a worthy spouse of Jesus Christ!" 

When Febronia was brought before Selenus, he asked 
her whether she was free. "No," she replied, "I am a 
servant." Selenus: "Who is thy master?" Febronia: 
"Jesus Christ my Saviour and my God." Hereupon, 
Selenus began to represent to her the misfortune of hav 
ing been deceived by the Christian sect, and besought 
her to awake from the delusion, and sacrifice to the gods, 
who would prosper her; since she would thus contract 
nuptials with his nephew, Lysimachus, and become one 
of the most distinguished ladies of the empire. The 
saint, raising up her chains, said: "I beseech thee not to 
deprive me of the most precious gems that I have ever 
worn. As regards the nuptials, I am consecrated to God, 
and cannot accept the sons of earth. Then I am a 
Christian, and how can I worship devils? Know that 
for my faith I am willing to suffer all torments." 

Selenus, infuriated by this speech, ordered the saint 
to be scourged, which torture was so cruelly inflicted 
that her body might be said to be one wound; never 
theless, Febronia ceased not to bless the Lord. Selenus, 
thinking that her prayers were intended to insult him, 
ordered her to be roasted on a gridiron over a slow fire, 
at which horrid spectacle even the pagans turned away, 
while the saint continued to thank Jesus Christ, who 
thus made her worthy to suffer for his sake. The tyrant, 
not content with what she had as yet endured, caused 
her teeth to be knocked out, and her breasts to be torn 

CHAP, xxi.] St. Arcadins. 121 

off; but seeing that all these tortures could not shake 
the constancy of Febronia, he ordered her head to be 
struck off; this completed her martyrdom, on the 251!] 
of June, about the beginning of the fourth century. 

While Primus and Lysimachus were conversing about 
the heroic conduct of the youthful virgin, news was 
brought them that Selenus, having been seized by a 
sudden madness, had clashed out his brains. They pro 
ceeded to his apartments and found him dead, where 
upon Lysimachus ordered Primus to have the body of 
St. Febronia laid in a rich coffin, and honorably buried. 
This act of piety performed, Primus and Lysimachus 
embraced the Christian faith, and their example was fol 
lowed bv manv others. 1 



January 12. 

ST. ARCADIUS was a native of Africa, and most proba 
bly suffered in Caesarea, 2 the capital of Mauritania. A 
furious persecution during which the Christians were 

1 This history is related more at length by Father Marin ( Vies dcs 
Peres, 1. ix. ch. i) after the Bollandists. He adds several interesting cir 
cumstances. God glorified St. Febronia after her death by many mira 
cles. Lysimachus and Primus were not only converted, but renounced 
all worldly prospects and embraced the religious life. Moreover. leria 
threw herself at the feet of the venerable Briena, and begged her to re 
ceive her into her community that she might occupy the place of Fe 
bronia; she also wished that her jewels should serve to adorn the coffin 
of the glorious martyr. ED. 

- At present Cherchell, a small village in the province of Mascara, in 
Algiers. The time in which St. Arcadius suffered is uncertain; accord 
ing to Alban Butler it was probably in the third century. En. 

122 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

cruelly dragged before the idols to sacrifice was raging, 
when Arcadius withdrew to a solitary place, where he 
employed his time in fasting and in prayer. Meanwhile, 
as he appeared not at the public sacrifices, soldiers were 
despatched to surprise him in his house, but not finding 
him, they arrested one of his relatives, in order to make 
him discover the retreat of his kinsman. 

Arcadius was unwilling that another should suffer on 
his account, and presented himself to the governor, say 
ing that his relative might be discharged, as he had 
come to answer for himself. The governor replied that 
he also might depart unhurt if he would sacrifice to the 
gods. The saint courageously answered: "Thou art 
deceived if thou believest that threats of death can affright 
the servants of God. They say with St. Paul, To me 
to live is Christ, and to die is gain [Philipp. i. 21], In 
vent, therefore, what tortures thou canst, we shall never 
be separated from our God." 

Hereupon the tyrant, full of wrath, and thinking the 
usual tortures too light for Arcadius, ordered that joint 
by joint should be chopped off the saint s body, begin 
ning with his toes. The barbarous butchery was in 
stantly executed, during which the holy martyr ceased 
not to bless the Lord. After his body had been reduced 
to a mere trunk, calmly surveying his mangled limbs 
scattered around him, he exclaimed: "Oh, happy mem 
bers that have served to manifest the glory of God! now 
that I behold you separated from my body, you are 
dearer to me than ever. I now know that I belong to 
Jesus Christ, as I have always desired." 

Then turning to those present, who were idolaters, he 
said: " Know ye that all these sufferings are easily over 
come by those who continually keep before th^ r eyes 
the eternal life that God bestows upon his servants. 
Adore the true God, who consoles me in these tortures ; 
and abandon the worship of your false gods, who cannot 

CHAP, xxii.i J>7. Justin, the Philosopher. 123 

assist you in your need. He who dies for the true God 
acquires life everlasting. Behold, for having suffered 
these torments, I go to live with him eternally, without 
the fear of ever losing him." Having finished his dis 
course, he placidly gave his soul to his Redeemer, on the 
1 2th of January. 

This martyrdom filled the idolaters with confusion, 
and inspired the Christians with a great desire of laying 
down their lives for Jesus Christ. They afterwards col 
lected the scattered limbs of the martyr, and gave them 
honorable burial. 



April 13, and among the Greeks, June i or 12. 

ST. JUSTIN was one of those glorious saints that have 
illustrated the Church of Christ by their extraordinary 
learning, as well as by their eminent virtues. He wrote 
in defence of Catholic truth against pagans, Jews, and 
heretics, and presented to the emperors and Roman 
senate two famous " Apologies," wherein he vindicates 
the innocence of the Christians, and proves that the 
crimes imputed to them were mere calumnies of the 
pagans. By the sanctity of his life, and the zeal and 
energy of his preaching, he converted many infidels, and 
finally terminated his brilliant career by a glorious mar 

St. Justin was born about the beginning of the second 
century at Neapolis, 1 the capital of Samaria, of Greek 

1 The ancient Sichem, now called Naplous. It is in reference to the 
place of his birth, and not in allusion to his religious principles, that 
St. Epiphanius calls our saint a Samaritan, for St. Justin himself de 
clares that he had been a Gentile previously to his conversion. 

i 24 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

parents, who were idolaters. Having gone througli the 
usual elementary course of studies, he found himself in 
spired with a great desire to know something concern 
ing the Great Cause, or Creator of all. Having in vain 
sought for truth among the Stoics, Peripatetics, Pythag 
oreans, and those of the Platonic school, God was 
pleased to satisfy his yearnings after a wonderful man 
ner. Having wandered one day into a solitary place in 
order that he might with more quietude enjoy his medi 
tations, he met with an old man of very venerable ap 
pearance, who told him that if he wished to arrive at the 
knowledge of the true God, he should leave the study of 
philosophy, and begin to read the Prophets, who in 
their writings had manifested to man the mysteries of 
God, and announced Jesus Christ his Son, through whom 
alone we can arrive at the knowledge of the true God. 
" But," continued this venerable personage, " above all 
things, pray to the Lord to illuminate thy mind; because 
these things are not to be understood except by those 
unto whom God hath given the knowledge of them." 
Having pronounced these words, he disappeared. 

After this interview, Justin applied himself continu 
ally to the reading of the Holy Scriptures, from which 
he derived that blessed knowledge which made him em 
brace the faith and receive the sacrament of regenera 
tion about the year 133, being then about thirty years 
of age. The constancy and fortitude of the martyrs, in 
suffering tortures, and laying down their lives for Jesus 
Christ, as he himself confesses, contributed much to his 
conversion, from which time he dedicated himself en 
tirely to the love of Jesus Christ, and the advancement 
of his religion. To this end he received the holy order 
of priesthood, 1 and exerted himself continually in the 

1 The clerical character of St. Justin is by no means an uncontro- 
verted point. The silence of the ancient authors with regard to his or- 

CHAP, xxii.] Si. Justin, the Philosopher. 125 

conversion of infidels and heretics, as considering him 
self called by God to the defence of his Church. Hence 
he used to say: "Since I have obtained from God the 
grace to understand the Scriptures, I labor to make them 
understood by others also, lest my neglect should be 
punished at the tribunal of God." And again: "lam 
determined to manifest the truth, although I should be 
cut to pieces." 

Having proceeded to Rome, he instructed many in the 
doctrines of the Christian faith; and there about the 
year 150 composed and presented to the Emperor An 
toninus Pius, and to the Roman senate, his first "Apolo 
gy," wherein he demonstrates the truth of the doctrines, 
and the sanctity of life, which the Christians professed. 
He adds, that many of them had lived in a state of invi 
olate purity for sixty or seventy years; and that Chris 
tians are so enamoured of this angelic virtue, that they 
either live in perpetual continency, or embrace the mar 
ried state for the holy purpose of training children in 
the love and service of God; their desires being placed 
in the joys of eternal life, which they expect through the 
death of Jesus Christ. 

In testimony of the truth of the Christian faith, he brings 
forward the fulfilment of the prophecies, which had been 
preserved by the Jews, the avowed enemies of the Chris 
tians. " We have seen," says the saint, " those prophe- 

dination has induced some to consider him a layman, as they think 
that so important a circumstance, had it taken place, could not have 
been omitted by early writers. Yet this, after all, is but a negative ar 
gument; and the other opinion, although founded only upon inference, 
seems more probable. His preaching, teaching, catechizing, etc., would 
proclaim him a deacon, at least; and it is hard to believe that if such a 
person at all entered the clerical state the Church would have failed to 
promote him to the priesthood. The circumstantial evidence in favor 
of his ordination has been sufficient to convince Tillemont and others. 

i 26 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

cies fulfilled in our own days, by the birth of Jesus 
Christ from a virgin; by his preaching and miracles; by 
his Passion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven; 
by the reprobation of the Jews and the destruction of 
Jerusalem; by the conversion of the Gentiles, and the 
establishment of the Church throughout the entire world ! 
These prophecies, so perfectly fulfilled, must convince 
us that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, who shall 
come one day to judge mankind, as hath been foretold, 
and as we believe." 

The Church in those days kept concealed from the un 
initiated the celebration of the most holy mysteries; but 
St. Justin thought it necessary to explain them, in order 
to contradict the infamous calumnies of secret lewdness 
and infanticide, which were being circulated against the 
Christians. Wherefore having explained the sacred 
ceremonies of baptism, he proceeds to speak of the 
Eucharist in the following terms: " He that presides in 
the assembly is presented with bread and a chalice of 
wine, with water; whereupon, in the name of the Son 
and the Holy Ghost, he renders glory to the Father. 
And by these gifts doth he make thanksgiving, which all 
the faithful confirm by the word Amen. The prayers, 
praises, and thanksgiving being terminated, the deacons 
take of the bread and the wine, mixed with water, over 
which all cliese holy prayers have been recited, and hav 
ing distributed them among those present, they carry 
some to the absent -also. 1 This food is bv us called 

1 The deacons of the ancient Church frequently carried the Eucharist 
to the Christians who were in prison for the faith, or otherwise unavoid 
ably absent; and sometimes even administered it in the assemblies of 
the faithful, as these words of St. Justin are frequently cited to prove. 
They did not, however, discharge this duty by virtue of their office, but 
merely by the delegated power given them by their Superiors. The 
circumstances of the Church, during the persecutions, rendered this 
discipline necessary, and an instance is recorded by Eusebius (Lib. 6, 

CHAP, xxn.] St. Justin, the Philosopher* 127 

Eucharist; of which no one can partake who believeth 
not our doctrines, and who hath not been cleansed from 
sin in the laver of regeneration. This is not common 
food or drink; but as Jesus Christ our Saviour was, for 
our redemption, by virtue of the divine word, composed 
of flesh and blood; so we are aware that, by virtue of 
the prayer containing his divine words, the food by 
which we are nourished is the flesh and blood of the 
WORD INCARNATE." Thus we see that the present doc 
trine of the Catholic Church is that which was believed 
and practised in the apostolic times, in which our saint 

St. Justin proceeds to describe the meetings of the 
faithful: "Upon the first day of the week, a general 
meeting takes place, when, as time permits, the prophe 
cies, and writings of the apostles, are read. The read 
ing being terminated by the Lector, he who presides 
makes an exhortation, to excite the people to the imita 
tion of worthy actions. We then all rise, and place our- 
.selves in prayer, which being finished, bread and wine 
with water are prepared, over which the bishop or priest 
recites the prayers and thanksgiving, the people answer 
Amen; and, finally, the distribution of the holy gifts is 
made by the deacons. The richer sort make a liberal 
collection, which by the president is distributed to 
widows and orphans, to the sick and those in prison, to 
pilgrims or other persons in need. The reason why we 
meet on Sunday is, because it was the day upon which 
God began the creation of the world; and upon which 
Jesus Christ arose from the dead." 

It is believed that, although this " Apology" of St. 
Justin did not cause the persecution to cease, it made a 

Histor, cap. xxxvi.) of even a layman having been sent with the Viati 
cum to a dying person. Vasquez (Disp. 219, cap. i) shows that this 
practice was not contrary to the divine institution of the Eucharist. ED. 

128 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

favorable impression on the Emperor Antoninus Pius, 
as is inferred from his letter, written to the cities of 
Asia Minor, in favor of the Christians, and recorded by 

Our saint composed other works in defence of Catho 
lic doctrine, against the Marcionites and Valentinians; 
and also his Dialogue with Trypho, 2 against the perti 
nacity of the Jews. Marcus Aurelius having succeeded 
Antoninus Pius in the empire, the persecution was re 
newed; and one Crescens, who, although styling himself 
a Cynic philosopher, was in reality a very shallow fellow, 
took occasion to exclaim loudly against the Christians. 
St. Justin, in public dispute, frequently convicted him of 
the most violent malice, and the greatest possible igno 
rance of the doctrine and practices of the Christians, and 
was induced to publish, and present to the emperor, his 
second "Apology," in which he defends his religion 
against the calumnies of Crescens and others. 

1 The followers of Marcion and Valentinus. Marcion, having been 
excommunicated for a crime of incontinency, committed under very ag 
gravating circumstances, professed himself a Stoic philosopher, turned 
heresiarch, and taught the existence of two gods, or first principles. 
Valentinus fell away from the faith, as Tertullian (Lib. cont. Valent. 
cap. 4) relates, in consequence of his pride and jealousy, because an 
other person was preferred to him, in the election of a bishop. The 
errors of this heresiarch were most ridiculous: he taught the existence 
of an eternal and invisible God, called Bathos, who, being married to a 
divinity styled Ennoia, produced thirty inferior deities, whom he de 
nominated y6nes. Pope St. Anicetus was most vigilant in protecting 
the faithful from the artifices of these heretics, and their errors were 
ably refuted by St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others. ED. 

- A learned Jew who, being obliged to fly from his country, retired 
to Greece and spent a considerable time in the study of philosophy, 
principally at Corinth. He introduced himself to St. Justin, who con 
tinued to wear the philosopher s cloak after his conversion, on one of 
the public walks, and spoke of the excellence of philosophy. This con 
versation, which forms the substance of the book referred to in the text, 
is given at some length by Fleury. Hist. Ecc. toni. i, Uvrc 3, inun. Hi. 
in fine, ED. 

CHAP, xxii] k SV. Justin, the Philosopher. 129 

In showing that Christians had been unjustly put to 
death, he relates that a married couple had both been 
guilty of incontinency; the woman, having been con 
verted to the Christian religion, used all her endeavors 
to withdraw her husband from his shameful practices; 
but he, instead of amending, accused her and one 
Ptolemy, who had been the means of her conversion, of 
being Christians. The prefect, Urbicus, sentenced them 
to death; whereupon a certain Christian, named Lucius, 
exclaimed: " With what conscience, O Urbicus! dost 
thou condemn a man who hath been guilty of no crime ? 
Lucius, together with another Christian, received a sim 
ilar sentence. 

A very short time after the publication of this dis 
course St. Justin was apprehended, together with six 
other Christians of his acquaintance. 1 and brought be 
fore Rusticus, the Prefect of Rome, who exhorted him 
to obey the imperial edicts. The saint replied: " No 
one can be reproved or condemned for obeying the 
precepts of our Saviour, Jesus Christ." 

The prefect asked him what kind of learning he pro 
fessed. Justin answered that he had learned the doc 
trines of various sects, and had finally embraced Chris 
tianity, although it was despised by those who were led 
away by errors and false opinions. " Unhappy wretch!" 
exclaimed the prefect, " dost thou then delight in this 
discipline?" Justin: "Yes, because it teaches me the 
true doctrine." Rusticus: "Which is this doctrine?" 
Justin: "The true doctrine which we profess is, to be 
lieve in one only God, the Creator of all things, visible 
and invisible, and to confess Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, the foretold by the Prophets, the preacher of sal 
vation unto men, and the Master of those who happily 
observe the divine precepts. But neither have I a 

1 These were Chariton, Evelpiste, llierax, Peon, Liberianus, and a 
worn an named Charitana. ED. 

130 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

tongue to express nor a mind to conceive anything 
worthy of his infinite dignity; to do so, I would need 
the mind and the spirit of the prophets, who, inspired 
by God, foretold his coming." 

The prefect asked him where the Christians were in 
the habit of assembling. Justin replied: "Where they 
please, and where they can. Dost thou imagine, per 
chance, that we all assemble in the same place ? The 
God of the Christians is not confined to a place; he is 
invisible, and fills both heaven and earth; and is every 
where adored and praised by the faithful." " But I wish 
to know," rejoined Rusticus, " where thou and thy dis 
ciples assemble." The saint answered: "As for myself, 
I dwell at the Timothean baths: this is the second time 
I have come to Rome, and I am scarcely acquainted with 
any other place in the city; if any one should wish to 
seek me, I am ready to communicate to him the doc 
trines of truth." Rusticus: " Thou art then a Christian ?" 
Justin: "So it is: I am a Christian." 

The prefect then turned to St. Justin s companions, 
and interrogated them, one after the other, concerning 
their faith. They all confessed themselves Christians, 
and manifested a desire to die for Jesus Christ. Rusti 
cus then said to Justin: "Tell me, thou who dost believe 
that thou hast the true wisdom, whether thou art per 
suaded that thou shalt ascend into heaven, after I shall 
have caused thee to be scourged and beheaded." The 
saint replied: "If I shall surfer these punishments, I 
hope to receive the reward which is prepared for those 
who observe the commandments of Christ." The pre 
fect asked: "Dost thou, then, really imagine that thou 
shalt ascend into heaven ;" "This I do not only imagine, 
but I know it," replied the saint, "and am so fully as 
sured of it, that I entertain no doubt whatever." 

Finally, the prefect, turning to all those confessors of 
Jesus Christ, said to them: "Go ye together, and unani- 

CHAP .xxiii.] St. Agatha, Virgin. 131 

mously sacrifice to the gods." Justin, answering for all, 
replied: "No man in his senses could abandon religion 
to become a participator in impiety." The prefect 
hereupon threatened that their non-compliance would 
be followed by the most unrelenting tortures. Justin 
said: "There is nothing which we more earnestly desire 
than to endure torments for the love of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thus attain unto salvation; for this it is that 
will enable us to present ourselves with confidence at 
the tribunal of that Judge before whom all the world 
must necessarily appear." To this the other martyrs 
assented, adding: "Do quickly what thou art about. 
We are Christians, and will never sacrifice to idols." 

The prefect then pronounced against them the follow 
ing sentence: " Those who have not wished to sacrifice 
to the gods, nor obey the edict of the emperor, shall 
first be scourged, and afterwards beheaded, in pursu 
ance of the law." The martyrs were forthwith led to 
the place of execution, where the sentence being carried 
into effect, they received the glorious crown of martyr 
dom, in the year 167, or the following. Their bodies 
were privately carried away by the Christians, who gave 
them honorable interment. 

The Acts of these martyrs are found in Ruinart and 


February 5. 

THIS holy virgin and martyr is held in great venera 
tion by the Greek as well as the Latin Church; and al 
though her original Acts have not been preserved, many 

1 3 2 Martyrs of the First Ages. FPART i. 

well-authenticated facts concerning her martyrdom are 
found in the Bollandists, Surius, and others. She was 
a native of Sicily, and descended of a noble and opulent 
family. These circumstances, added to her extraordinary 
beauty, inflamed Quintianus, a man of consular dignity, 
with such love of her, that he resolved to compel her to 
become his wife. The edicts of the emperor Decius 
against the Christians having been published, he ordered 
Agatha to be arrested as a Christian, and conducted to 
Catania, where he then resided. 

The holy virgin having heard the proclamation 
against the Christians, retired to a solitary place in or 
der to avoid the snares of Quintianus, concerning which 
she had received some intimation. The emissaries of 
the governor, however, discovered her place of conceal 
ment, and after having been arrested, she prayed after 
the following manner: "O Jesus Christ, Lord of all 
things, Thou seest my heart, and knowest my desire, 
which is to possess only Thee, since I have consecrated 
myself entirely to Thee. Preserve me, dear Lord, from 
this tyrant, and enable me to overcome the devil, who 
layeth snares for my soul." 

When the saint appeared before Quintianus, in order 
the more easily to overcome her modesty, he gave her 
up to Aphrodisia, an abominable woman, who, together 
with her daughters, publicly professed immodesty. In 
her infamous house the saint suffered greater torture 
than the darkest and most fetid dungeon could afford. 
All the arts of Aphrodisia and her partners in crime 
were unceasingly applied, in order to induce the saint 
to comply with the wishes of Quintianus; but Agatha, 
who from her infancy had been consecrated to Jesus 
Christ, was enabled by his divine grace to overcome all 
their attempts. 

Quintianus, having been informed that the efforts of 
Aphrodisia for an entire month had been employed in 

CHAP, xxiii.] St. Agatha, Virgin. 133 

vain, commanded that the saint should be again brought 
before him. He upbraided her, that, being a free wom 
an and noble, she had allowed herself to be seduced 
into the humble servitude of the Christians. The holy 
virgin courageously confessed that she was a Christian, 
and that she knew of no nobility more illustrious, nor 
liberty more real, than to be a servant of Jesus Christ. 
In order to give the governor to understand how infa 
mous were the deities which he adored and desired her to 
worship, she asked whether he would wish that his wife 
should be a prostitute, like Venus, or that he himself 
should be considered an incestuous adulterer like Jupi 
ter. Quintianus, irritated at her rebuke, commanded 
her to be buffeted and led to prison. The following day 
she was again summoned, and asked whether she had 
resolved to save her life. She replied: "God is my life 
and my salvation." The governor then put her to the 
torture; but perceiving how little it affected her, he 
commanded her breasts to be lacerated, and afterwards 
cut off, which was executed with barbarous cruelty. 

Quintianus then remanded the saint to prison, com 
manding that her wounds should be left undressed, in 
order that she might expire under the torture. But at 
midnight St. Peter appeared to her in a vision, perfectly 
cured her wounds, and freed her from all pain: during the 
entire of that night there appeared in the interior of the 
prison so resplendent a light that the guards fled in ter 
ror, leaving the door of her dungeon open, so that she 
could have escaped, as the other prisoners advised her, 
but that she was unwilling, as she said, to lose by flight 
the crown which was being prepared for her in heaven. 

Quintianus, nothing moved by her miraculous cure, 
but on the contrary more irritated, after four days de 
vised new torments for the saint. He commanded that 
she should be rolled over broken tiles, mixed with burn 
ing coals; but she endured all with constancy; and while 

134 Martyrs of the First Ages. PART i. 

the tyrant was planning fresh torments, the saint, per 
ceiving that her life was drawing to a close, made the 
following prayer: " O Lord, my Creator, who hast pre 
served me from my infancy, hast given me strength to 
overcome these torments, and hast taken from me the 
love of the world, receive now my soul. It is time that 
I should at last pass from this miserable life to the fru 
ition of Thy glory." Just as she had finished these 
words, she tranquilly expired, and went to be united to 
God, to praise him and love him forever. This hap 
pened in 251. Her name is mentioned in the Canon of 
the Mass. 



January 27 and 12. 

ALTHOUGH this great saint did not actually die for the 
faith by the hand of the executioner, yet he may be 
styled a martyr, as he died of the maltreatment which 
he received for defending God s honor and the rights of 
the Church. 

St. John was born at Antioch, about the year 347, and 
was descended of one of the most illustrious families of 
that city. 1 His mother, being left a widow at the early 

1 His father, whose name was Secundus, was master of the horse, 
that is, chief commander of the imperial troops in Syria. His mother 
was Anthusa, and she had two children, one of whom was a daughter. 
Anthusa did not wish to marry again, in order to devote herself entirely 
to the welfare of her children: she herself took care to instil into them 
the first principles of Christianity. " Never," says Alban Butler, " was 

CHAP, xxiv.j St. John Chrysostom. 135 

age of twenty years, took particular care in the education 
of her child, and placed him under the most eminent mas 
ters, to study rhetoric and philosophy. It was expected 
that the pious youth would attain to great worldly for 
tune; but he, from his twentieth year, applied himself to 
the study of the sacred Scriptures and to prayer, and 
dedicated himself entirely to the service of his crucified 
Lord. Whereupon St. Meletius, his bishop, took a great 
liking to him, and having instructed him for three years, 
made him Lector of his own church. 

Although during his stay in Antioch he led a very re 
tired and mortified life, he bethought him of the advan 
tages of a still more solitary and austere state; and con 
sequently retired to a cave, where he passed some years 
in continual prayer and penitential practices, which 
were so severe as to injure his health. He was there 
fore obliged to return to Antioch, where he was ordained 
deacon by St. Meletius, whose successor, Flavianus, con 
ferred upon him the holy order of priesthood five years 
afterwards, and in consequence of his great eloquence, 
appointed him preacher of that church. This office he 
discharged so well, that public demonstrations of ap 
probation were frequently made, against which the saint 
protested, saying: " What good can these your applauses 
do me ? That only which I desire is, that you practise 
what I preach; this to me will be the most acceptable 

Nectarius, Patriarch of Constantinople, died in the 
year 397; and as the name of our saint had obtained 
great celebrity throughout the entire province, the Em 
peror Arcadius, the clergy, and people, agreed in having 

a woman more worthy of bearing the name of mother." The pagans 
themselves could not help admiring her virtues; and a celebrated phi 
losopher cried out while speaking of her: "What wonderful women 
have the Christians!" ED. 

136 Martyrs of the First Ages. IPART i. 

him promoted to that see. The emperor accordingly 
summoned him to Constantinople, and without making 
known to him his design, took him into his carriage, and 
brought him to a church outside the city, where, not 
withstanding his reluctance, he was consecrated by the 
bishops previously assembled. 

The see of Constantinople had unfortunately been 
governed for sixteen years by Nectarius, 1 a man with 
out learning or zeal; so that this great city, containing as 
it did so many strangers and heretics, required a thorough 
reform. To this St. John Chrysostom gave his entire atten 
tion. With an untiring and holy zeal he labored for the 
reformation of his clergy, and endeavored to suppress 
the avarice and haughtiness of the emperor s court; this 
made for him many enemies. 

It happened that there arrived at Constantinople some 
monks, who had been expelled from Egypt by Theophi- 
lus, Bishop of Alexandria, under the pretext of Origen- 
ism; but St. John being satisfied of their innocence, wrote 
to Theophilus in their favor, beseeching him not to dis- 

1 He was born at Tharsus, of a patrician family, and had been for 
some time Praetor of Constantinople. After the cabal which obliged St. 
Gregory Nazianzen to retire from that see, he was appointed to it. al 
though at the time advanced in years, and not only a layman, but a 
catechumen, and one. moreover, whose conduct had been irregular. 
The circumstances that led to his appointment are rather curious, and 
are given at length by Fleury (Hist. torn. iv. liv. 18, num. v.). Hav 
ing made a complimentary visit to Diodore, Bishop of Tharsus, this 
prelate was so taken with his venerable appearance, his majestic mien 
and the amiability and blandness of his deportment, that he repre 
sented him to Flavianus, Bishop of Antioch, as a fit person to occupy 
the vacant See of Constantinople. Flavianus, knowing that many emi 
nent persons were being presented, laughed at the proposal; but wish 
ing to please his friend, placed the name of Nectarius at the end of the 
list of candidates, which he presented to the Emperor Theodosius. The 
emperor used all his influence to have him appointed, and finally suc 
ceeded in obtaining his confirmation from the Pope. ED. 

CHAP. xxiv.] 67. John Chrysostom. 137 

turb them. He, however, being a haughty and vindic 
tive man, succeeded in raising a persecution against the 
saint for protecting the monks. The emperor indeed 
summoned Theophilus to Constantinople, to account for 
his conduct; but he easily gained over to his side the 
nobles, bishops, and clergy, who were opposed to St. 
Chrysostom. But the greatest acquisition to his party 
was the Empress Eudoxia, who bore a mortal enmity to 
our saint, on account of having been rebuked by him for 
her avaricious rapacity in depriving Callitropa of her 
money and another widow of her land. Backed by 
this party, Theophilus was enabled to get together a 
cabal of thirty-six bishops, who from the place where 
they met styled themselves the Synod of the Oak, and 
having drawn up some false accusations, deposed St. 
John from his bishopric, and obtained from the emperor 
a decree for his banishment. 

The people, hearing of the decree, surrounded the 
church to defend their bishop; but St. John, to avoid a 
sedition, escaped through a private door, and surren 
dered himself to the guards, who brought him to Bithyn- 
ia. On the night of the following day Constantinople 
was shaken with an earthquake, which was regarded as 
a sign of God s displeasure by all, not excepting Eudoxia, 
who in the greatest consternation besought the emperor 
to recall the holy bishop. The entire population went 
out to meet him, chanting hymns, and bearing lighted 
torches in their hands, and having arrived at the cathe 
dral, obliged him to seat himself upon the episcopal 

Theophilus and his party having fled from Constanti 
nople, the saint resumed the discharge of his pastoral 
duties, and was treating with the emperor about the 
convocation of a council to vindicate his innocence, when 
a new accident totally changed the aspect of his affairs. 
In the square before the great church of St. Sophia a 

138 Martyrs of the Fii st Ages. [PARTI. 

silver statue had been erected to the empress, where 
dances and public games were performed, which dis 
turbed the sacred offices of the church. The saint 
strongly rebuked the people for this irreverence; but his 
zeal only infuriated the Empress Eudoxia, who to satisfy 
her revenge availed herself of the enmity which The- 
ophilus and other bishops bore our saint. They formed 
a second cabal, in which they condemned and deposed 
St. Chrysostom, under pretext that he had reassumed 
the episcopal function, without having justified himself 
in synod. 

In pursuance of this most iniquitous deposition, an 
order came from the emperor that he should not enter 
his church, and he accordingly departed from the city. 
As this happened upon Holy Saturday, the saint retired 
to a country chapel, in order to celebrate the sacred 
offices; but his enemies obtained a troop of four hundred 
soldiers, and entered the church, where baptism was be 
ing administered, wounded some of the priests, and in 
jured some of the children who were about being bap 
tized. Their sacrilegious impiety went so far as to 
trample on the Blessed Sacrament ! Such, in fine, was 
the uproar, that many of the people ran, in consterna 
tion, to hide themselves in the woods and valleys. 

Although the Emperor Arcadius had no personal en 
mity to St. John, he was induced by the importunity of 
his wife and the hostile bishops to send him into ban 
ishment. The saint having received the order, took 
leave of the bishops who w^ere his friends, and departing 
through a private door, delivered himself to the soldiers 
who obliged him to travel day and night, until they ar 
rived at Cucusus, a small city of Aimenia, the place of 
his banishment; the journey lasted seventy days, during 
thirty of which the saint suffered from a tertian fever. 

When they arrived at Cucusus, the bishop of that 
place received St, John in his house, who thus found 

CHAP, xxiv.] 6Y. John Chrysostom. 139 

some repose after so much suffering. The saint here 
did not remain idle, but employed himself, as much as 
possible, in instructing the people and relieving the poor. 
He also wrote many letters to console his friends, and to 
assist the churches which had been lately founded in 
Persia and Phoenicia. 

Meanwhile, Pope Innocent I. having been informed of 
the injustice done St. John, did all in his power to as 
semble a synod where the innocence of the saint would 
be definitely declared. But his enemies labored suc 
cessfully to prevent its celebration, and jealous of the 
fame he was acquiring in his first place of exile, pre 
vailed upon Arcadius to banish him to Pytius, a small 
town on the borders of the empire. St. John was ac 
cordingly consigned to two officers, one of whom was a 
most brutal man; and having been instigated by the 
enemies of the saint to cause his death by maltreatment 
on the road, he obliged him to travel in the most violent 
rains and amid scorching heats, not allowing him to rest 
in any town, but halting at obscure villages, where no 
accommodation could be found. 

When they arrived at Comana, in Pontus, the inhu 
man officer obliged him to continue his journey five or 
six miles to the church where St. Basiliscus, Martyr and 
Bishop of Comana, had been buried; they lodged in a 
house contiguous to the church, and in the night the 
holy martyr appeared to St. John, and exhorted him to 
have courage, adding: " To-morrow we shall be to 
gether." St. Chrysostom, knowing thus that the ter 
mination of his sufferings was at hand, besought the 
soldiers to defer their departure till the morrow: this he 
could not obtain; but they had travelled only a few 
miles when, seeing the saint about to expire, they re 
turned to the same house. St. Chrysostom then changed 
his dress, putting on a white robe; he received the holy 
Viaticum, and poured forth his last prayer, which he 

140 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

concluded with an expression he was constantly in the 
habit of using: " Glory be to God for all things." Hav 
ing said "Amen," he gave up his soul to God, on the 
i4th September in the year 407, being about sixty years 
of age, and having been bishop nine years and almost 
seven months. A great concourse of monks and per 
sons of rank came from the neighboring provinces to 
celebrate his funeral. God did not delay the punish 
ment of his enemies, and especially of Eudoxia, who 
died a few days afterwards. She was soon followed by 
Arcadius, who expired in his thirty-first year; and these 
deaths have generally been considered the effects of 
divine wrath. 

But the persecution against the followers of St. John 
Chrysostom did not end with his death. Tygrius, a 
priest, and Eutropius, a lector, were particular objects 
of vengeance; because, after his second departure from 
Constantinople, the great church of St. Sophia and the 
senate-house were burned down, and these two ecclesi 
astics were accused of having done so maliciously. Op- 
tatus, an impious pagan, was governor of the city, and 
he first put Eutropius, as being the younger, to torture, 
in order that he might reveal the authors of the fire; but 
Eutropius suffered himself to be torn with iron hooks 
and burned with torches rather than falsely accuse any 
person. Palladius 1 writes, that in these tortures he ex 
pired. Optatus then caused Tygrius to be scourged, 
and stretched upon the rack until his bones were dislo 
cated, and finally banished him^to Mesopotamia, where 
he died. The Church honors both of these saints with 
the title of martyr. 8 

In the year 428, the honors of a saint were first given 
to St. John Chrysostom, and the archbishop, St. Procu- 

1 This writer attributes the fire to the divine displeasure at the saint s 
banishment. Dialog, c. 20. 

2 They are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on the I2th January. 

CHAP, xxv.i St. Ptonius, Priest. 141 

lus, afterwards persuaded the emperor, Theodosius the 
younger, to bring the saint s body from Comana to Con 
stantinople ; the translation of the sacred relics was per 
formed with the utmost pomp, the entire population 
going forth to join in the procession. The arm of the 
sea over which they passed was covered with barges, 
and illuminated with torches. When the sacred relics 
arrived, the Emperor Theodosius, his eyes bathed in 
tears and fixed upon the coffin, humbly asked pardon of 
the saint for the injustice done him by his parents. 
This translation took place on the 28th of January, in 
the year 438, thirty-one years after the saint s death. 1 



February i. 

ST. PIONIUS was a priest of the church of Smyrna ; he 
was exceedingly learned, and inflamed with the love of 
Jesus Christ, and a zeal for the conversion of souls, 
which was successfully exercised in the conversion of 
many infidels and abandoned sinners. 

In his time, that is, about the year 250, the persecution 
of Decius was raging, and the saint by continual prayer 
prepared himself for martyrdom, in case such should be 
his lot. One day, as he was engaged in prayer with 
Asclepiades and Sabina, two pious Christians, it was re- 

1 Later on his venerated relics were transported to Rome and placed 
in the Vatican Church, under the altar erected in his honor. As the day 
of his death is that on which is celebrated the feast of the Exaltation of 
th? Cross, the Greeks keep this feast on November 13, and the Latins, 
January 27. His wonderful eloquence earned for him the surname of 
Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth, and his excellent writings the title of 
Doctor of the Church. En. 

142 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

vealed to them that, on the day following, they would 
be arrested for the faith ; they therefore made an offer 
ing of their lives to Jesus Christ, and placed halters 
about their necks in order to signify to the soldiers that 
they were ready to undergo martyrdom. 

On the following morning, Palemon, the guardian of 
the temple, came with a troop of soldiers, and said to 
them: "Are ye aware of the orders of the emperor, that 
ye are all to sacrifice to the gods of the empire?" 
Pionius answered : "That which \ve know is the order 
of God which is, not to sacrifice to any but himself, the 
sovereign Lord of all." Upon this reply they were all 
arrested and led into a great square, where St. Pionius, 
turning to the enemies of the faith, said that they were 
vainly rejoicing on account of the apostasy of some few 
bad Christians, and protested that no species of torture 
would ever compel him to adore those whom they im 
piously called gods. 

Palemon said to him: "And why wilt thou, Pionius, 
regardless of life, deprive thyself of the beauteous light 
of the day which thou enjoyest?" The saint replied: 
"This light is beauteous, but there is another light more 
glorious, and a life more estimable, to which Christians 
aspire." The people called upon him to sacrifice, but he 
answered : "Our resolve is to persevere in the faith." 

The people desired that the saint should speak in the 
theatre, in order that they might all hear him conve 
niently, but some told Palemon that if he gave him lib 
erty to speak, a tumult might follow ; he therefore said 
to Pionius : "If thou wilt not sacrifice, come with us at 
least to the temple." The saint said: "Our entrance 
into your temple cannot benefit your gods." "Then," 
said Palemon, " thou wilt not be persuaded ?" Pionius 
replied: "Would to God I could persuade ye all to be 
come Christians." Some of the idolaters exclaimed: 
" Thou canst never induce us to that ; we would rather 

CHAP, xxv.] St. Pionius, Priest. 143 

be burned alive." The saint rejoined: " But it will be 
worse for you to burn eternally after death." 

Palemon, who was anxious to save the life of Pionius, 
ceased not to importune him; but the saint resolutely 
answered: "Thou hast orders to persuade or to punish 
me; thou canst not persuade, therefore punish." Here 
upon Palemon, being enraged, asked: "But why wilt 
thou not sacrifice?" Pionius: "Because I am a Chris 
tian." Palemon: "What is the God whom thou ador- 
est ?" Pionius: "I adore the Almighty God, who, having 
made all things, created us also, as I have learned from 
Jesus Christ." Palemon: "Sacrifice to the emperor at 
least." Pionius: "I shall never sacrifice to a man." 

The judge then judicially inquired his name, and to 
what church he belonged. The saint replied: "lam a 
Christian, and belong to the Catholic Church." His 
companions gave the same answer, and they were all 
sent to prison. On the road thither, some of the idola 
ters observed that many Christians had sacrificed. The 
saint answered: "Each one is master of his own will : 
my name is Pionius." By this he meant to encourage 
the others to imitate his example, and remain constant 
in the faith. 

When they came to the prison, many Christians offered 
them refreshments, but Pionius said: "I have not time 
to think of anything but the martyrdom which awaits 
me." The guards, seeing so many Christians coming to 
visit the saint, brought him and his companions to a 
more remote and obscure place, for which they gave 
thanks to God, as their more solitary confinement en 
abled them to commune more freely with God. Not 
withstanding the change, however, many Christians, who 
had abandoned the faith on account of the violence of 
the torments, came to Pionius, who wept over their fall, 
and exhorted them to do penance, and hope for pardon, 
through the mercy of Jesus Christ. 

144 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

Palemon then arrived with a troop of soldiers, and 
orders from the proconsul to take the confessors to 
Ephesus. The saint desired to see the order, but the 
commanding officer put a halter round his neck, and 
dragged him so violently as almost to suffocate him. 
He was thus led to the square ; and when the martyrs 
arrived at the temple, they cast themselves on the 
ground in order not to enter, but the soldiers dragged 
them in, and placed them erect before the impious altar. 
They there met Eudaemon, the unhappy Bishop of 
Smyrna, who had miserably sacrificed to the gods, and 
the idolaters vainly hoped that they might be moved by 
his example to prevaricate also. One of the idolaters 
wished to place on the head of St. Pionius a crown which 
had been worn by one of the apostates, but the saint 
broke it in pieces, and cast it from him. Not knowing 
what to do to pervert the confessors, they brought them 
back to prison, and while Pionius was entering, one of 
the soldiers smote him on the head. The saint bore it 
with patience, but God chastised his assailant by caus 
ing not only his hand but his side to become swollen 
and inflamed, so that he could not breathe. 

After some days, the proconsul arrived at Smyrna, 
and having summoned Pionius, asked him to what sect 
he belonged. The saint replied : "I am a priest of the 
Catholic Church." The proconsul rejoined : " Then art 
thou a doctor and a professor of folly." Pionius : "No, 
but of piety." Proconsul: " And of what piety ?" Pio 
nius : " Of that piety which has for its object the God 
who made heaven and earth." The proconsul then 
commanded him to sacrifice, but the saint replied : "I 
have learned to adore one only living God." The tyrant 
then ordered him to be tortured, during which having 
in vain importuned him to sacrifice, he finally condemned 
him to be burned. 

In proceeding to the place of execution, St. Pionius 

CH. xxvi.i St. Adalbert, Bis/icp of Prague. 145 

walked quickly and with joyous countenance ; having 
arrived at the place, he undressed without assistance, 
and offered himself to be nailed to the stake, after which 
the pagans exclaimed : " Repent, O Pionius ; promise 
to obey, and thou shalt be saved." But he replied : "I 
have not felt the pain of the nails ; I desire to die, that 
the people may know that death shall be followed by 
resurrection." The pile having been fired, the saint 
closed his eyes, so that the spectators thought he was 
already dead, but he was only praying ; he opened his 
eyes, and having concluded the prayer with the usual 
"Amen," placidly gave up the ghost, saying : "Lord 
Jesus, receive my soul." 

The end of his companions is not upon record, but it 
is piously believed that they also received the crown of 


April 23. 

ST. ADALBERT was born in Bohemia, of noble parent 
age, about the middle of the tenth century. His father, 
a Slavonian, sent him to study at Magdeburg, under the 
care of the Archbishop Adalbert ; who placed him in a 
school, under the direction of a holy monk, named 

1 This prelate, charmed with the happy disposition of his pupil, con 
ceived for him the tenderness of a father, and gave him his name in ad 
mitting him to the sacrament of confirmation. Young Adalbert was a 
child of the Blessed Virgin. Being yet an infant, he was attacked by a 
violent illness that reduced him to extremity. His parents then carried 
him to the church, and placed him on St. Mary s altar, and promised to 
consecrate him to the service of God if he should recover his health. 
Their prayers were heard. (See Alban Butler and Giry.) ED. 

146 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

Odericus, where the pupils, by serious attention to their 
studies, and most exemplary morals, edified one an 

Adalbert, having remained nine years in this school, 
made considerable progress in human sciences, but still 
more in the science of the saints ; for whatever time 
was allowed for recreation, he spent in holy prayer, in 
relieving the poor, and visiting the sick. Having made 
a copious collection of books, consisting chiefly of the 
writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, he 
returned to Bohemia, and entered the ecclesiastical state 
at Prague. Diethmar, bishop of that city, was greatly 
enamoured of his virtue, and ordained him subdeacon 
shortly before his death. 

An assembly was held to propose a successor, at which 
the prince of Bohemia and other grandees were present, 
and, by unanimous consent, Adalbert was chosen. Not 
withstanding all his reluctance, and his pleas of unwor- 
thiness and youth, he was obliged to accept the oner 
ous charge ; and the election having met the approval 
of the emperor, our saint received the episcopal conse 
cration at the hands of Villegisus, Archbishop of May- 
ence. He immediately proceeded to Prague, to take 
possession of his see, and was received amid the accla 
mations of the people. In assuming the government of 
his Church, his extraordinary piety became manifest ; 
for on all festivals he distributed abundant alms, and 
supported twelve poor persons continually. He slept 
upon the bare floor, or upon sack-cloth, and passed a 
considerable part of the night in prayer. His continual 
preaching, and frequent visits to the sick and those in 
prison, manifested how totally he was devoted to the 
glory of God and the welfare of his flock. 

But they treated his admonitions with an obstinacy 
surpassing the enthusiasm with which they had at first 
hailed his arrival ; and Adalbert accordingly resolved to 

CH. xxvi.] St. Adalbert, Bishop of Prague. 147 

leave them, having first consulted, and obtained permis 
sion from Pope John XV. His first intention was to 
make a pilgrimage on foot to the Holy Land ; but on 
his arrival at Mount Cassino, the Abbot and some of the 
monks induced him to remain with them for some time, 
until it became known who he was ; whereupon the holy 
bishop proceeded to Rome, and, by the advice of the 
Pope, received the religious habit in the monastery of 
St. Alexis, in the year 900. Here he lived in tranquillity 
for three years and a half, until the Duke of Bohemia, 
moved by the wretched state of the Church at Prague, 
induced the Pope to send him back. 

Upon his return, the most ample promises of obedi 
ence were made, but never fulfilled. So the saint again 
abandoned his rebellious flock, and went to preach the 
Gospel to che idolaters of Hungary. His success here, 
however, was not proportionate to his zeal ; and the 
Bohemians continuing as obstinate as ever, he again re 
turned to his monastery at Rome. 

He was obliged by the Pope to repair a second time 
to Prague. The saint set out in obedience to this com 
mand ; but being informed that his ungrateful flock had 
shown their implacable hatred of him by murdering his 

1 Geysa, or Giesa the Fourth, Duke of Hungary, had been converted 
to the Christian faith, and baptized, together with his entire family. 
Shortly after his baptism, and just before the arrival of our saint, he 
was informed in a vision that a heavenly messenger would arrive in his 
dominions. St. Adalbert was therefore kindly received at his court; and 
we are informed by Fleury (Nisi., torn. 12, liv. 58, num. vii.) that his 
preaching was followed by the conversion of many, and the erection 
of churches in various places. Geysa had contemplated the establish 
ment of bishoprics throughout his dominions, but was told, in the vision 
already mentioned, that his hands had been stained with human blood, 
and that God had reserved the accomplishment of this great work for 
his son. This promise was amply fulfilled in the per on of St. Stephen, 
first king of Hungary, who seems to have been born about the time of 
St. Adalbert s arrival, and was baptized by him. ED. 

148 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

brothers, he requested the Duke of Poland to ascertain 
whether they were willing to receive him. The Bohe 
mians replied : " Adalbert is a saint, and we are sinners ; 
so it is impossible to expect that we can live quietly to 
gether." The saint took this as a sufficient exoneration 
from the solicitude of his Church, and went to under 
take the conversion of the pagans who were then in 

After he had suffered many hardships on this mission, 
the idolaters one day assembled in great numbers, and 
demanded of him why he had entered their coun 
try. The saint replied that he had come for their sal 
vation, and exhorted them to abandon the worship of 
idols, and to adore the true God. But the barbarians 
were displeased at his words, and Siggo, the priest of the 
idols, ran him through the breast with his lance, where 
upon the others rushed upon him also, while the saint, 
raising his hands to heaven, prayed to the Lord for 
their conversion. The inhuman wretches placed his 
head upon a pole, and bore it away amid shouts of exul 
tation. His martyrdom happened on the 23d April, of 
the year 997, and the Lord honored him by many subse 
quent miracles. 


April 30. 

ST. JAMES was a deacon, and St. Marianus a lector, 
but it is not known for what Church they were ordained, 
nor is the place of their birth upon record. During the 
persecution of Valerian, they were travelling towards 
Numidia, and stopped at a certain village called Mugu- 

en. xxvn i SS. James and Marianus, etc. 149 

as, some distance from the city of Cirtha 1 . The perse 
cution was raging violently in the province, and the 
prefect bore such a mortal hatred towards the Chris 
tians, that he recalled those who had been banished dur 
ing former persecutions, to stand a new trial. This 
circumstance induced the saints to remain, as they ex 
pected to receive there the crown of martyrdom, which 
they so ardently desired. 

Meanwhile, two holy bishops, Agapius and Secondi- 
nus, a who had been banished for the faith, were passing 
through Muguas, having been summoned by the prefect 
for a second trial. James and Marianus felt a still 
stronger desire of martyrdom, from the example of 
these two holy prelates, which was satisfied two days 
afterwards, when they were arrested and brought to 
Cithra. Some good Christians seeing them in chains, 
envied their blessed lot, and encouraged them to remain 
constant. The idolaters perceiving this, asked them 
whether they were Christians, and having been answered 
in the affirmative, these also were arrested, and obtained 
the crown of martyrdom, even before our saints. 

James and Marianus being presented before the mag 
istrates of Cirtha, were interrogated concerning their 
faith. James boldly acknowledged that he was not only 
a Christian, but a deacon; although he knew that, in the 
latter case, capital punishment was inevitable. Mari 
anus was cruelly tortured, being hung up, not by the 
hands, which was the usual method, but by the thumbs, 
which was far more painful, weights being also attached 
to his feet, so that his bones were dislocated, and his 
bowels convulsed; but the holy martyr, having suffered 
all with wonderful constancy, was sent with James and 
the others to prison. 

1 Or Cirta, at present Constantino, in Algiers. The province of Con- 
stantine is ancient Numidia, of which Cirta was the capital. ED. 
* Inscribed in the martyrology under date of April 29. 

150 Martyrs of tJie First Ages. [PART i. 

Here Marianus was consoled with a vision which he 
related as follows: 1 "I saw a great tribunal and a judge 
seated thereon; there was a platform on which many 
confessors were placed, whom the judge successively 
condemned to death. Methought I was mounting the 
platform, and saw, near the judge, St. Cyprian, who 
stretched forth his hand, as it were helping me to ascend. 
He said to me with a smile: Come thou and sit with 
me. The judge arose and came with us to the prae- 
torium. We passed through a beautiful meadow, sur 
rounded with high trees, in the midst of which was a 
limpid fountain; the judge disappeared, and St. Cyprian 
taking a bowl, drank of the water, which I also drank 
with pleasure." James hearing this narration, related a 
vision by which he also had been given to understand 
that he would obtain the crown of martyrdom. 

The saints were then brought before the magistrates, 
and by them sent to the governor of the province, in 
company with some other Christians; they found the 
governor still sitting in judgment on others of the faith 
ful, many of whom he condemned to death; amongst 
them was Agapius, who immediately after his death 
appeared in a vision to James, and said to him: " Be ye 
of good courage, for to-morrow ye shall be with us." So 
it happened; for on the following day the governor pro- 

] St. Peter Damian (Tom. II. in fine) explains this vision to us. 
The judge is evidently our Lord himself, who makes his faithful ascend 
by degrees to the perfection that he requires of them; then he sends 
them to martyrdom by giving them the strength to triumph, although he 
seems to disappear at the moment of the combat. St. Cyprian, who 
comes to the assistance of Marianus, was Bishop of Carthage, a neigh 
boring city in Numidia, and had been martyred only a short time before, 
in 258; this makes us believe that our two saints belonged to his church. 
The meadow represents this world through which we are only passing. 
The high trees are the saints who look down upon us and protect us. 
The bowl out of which St. Cyprian was the first to drink is the chalice 
of the passion or martyrdom: " He shall drink of the torrent in the 
wav " /A- torrents in via bibct (Ps. cix. 7)." ED. 

CH. xxvii.] SS. James and Marianus, etc. 151 

nounced sentence of death upon James, Marianus, and 
tlie others. 

The place selected for the execution was a valley, 
through which ran a river, with a ridge of hills on both 
sides. As the number of the condemned was great, the 
martyrs were placed in rows on the bank of the river, in 
order that the executioner might pass from one to the 
other, cutting off their heads, after which the bodies 
were thrown into the stream, that the spectators might 
not be disgusted at the sight of so much carnage, 
While the martyrs, with their eyes bound, awaited the 
stroke of death, they spoke of the visions by which God 
was manifesting to them the certainty of their reward. 
St. Marianus in particular foretold the vengeance which 
was being prepared by God for those who were shedding 
the blood of the guiltless. 1 

When the saints had terminated their struggle, the 
mother of Marianus was transported with joy at finding 
herself the mother of a martyr. She is panegyrized by 
St. Augustine, 2 and by the author of the Acts of those 
martyrs, who had been a sharer of their prison, and an 
eye-witness of their martyrdom, which took place in the 
year 259, under the Emperor Valerian. 

1 The fulfilment of this was not long delayed, for in this very year, or 
the one following, Valerian s affairs in the East became so desperate that 
he had to proceed thither in person, and even offered to purchase an 
inglorious peace from Sapor the First, King of the Persians. This mon 
arch refused to treat with his ambassadors , and requested a personal 
interview, at which he treacherously seized Valerian, and retained him 
till his death in captivity, during which he suffered every species of 
indignity. Fleury relates that he used to have his wretched captive led 
forth, when he was going to ride, that he might mount his horse by 
placing his foot on his neck; and that he finally caused him to be flayed 
alive, and his skin having been dried and dyed red, to be hung up in 
one of the temples. This and many other calamities which befell the 
empire were regarded by the Christians as so many instances of divine 
wrath. ED. 

. 284, E. B. 

152 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 


December 13. 

ST. LUCY was descended of a noble family of Syracuse, 
which was then regarded as the principal city of Sicily. 
She lost her father in her infancy; but Eutychia, her 
mother, took care to educate her properly, and to 
instruct her well in the doctrines of our holy faith. 
When our saint arrived at a proper age, her mother 
began to think of giving her in marriage, but Lucy, who 
had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, awaited 
only a favorable opportunity to reveal her resolution to 
her mother. 

This opportunity soon presented itself. Eutychia was 
afflicted for many years with a rlux of blood, without 
being able to find any effectual remedy. St. Lucy, 
therefore, persuaded her to repair to the tomb of St. 
Agatha, martyred a half century before in Catania, 
where the Lord was pleased to work man) - miracles, 
and there to implore her cure. When they arrived at 
Catania, they prostrated themselves in prayer before 
the sepulchre of St. Agatha, where Lucy, perhaps from 
fatigue of the journey, was overpowered with sleep. 
The blessed martyr appeared to her, and as we read in 
the Roman Breviary, said: " Lucy ! why dost thou de 
mand through my intercession that which, by thy faith, 
thou canst thyself obtain for thy mother ?" She then as 
sured Lucy that God would work the desired cure, and 
that, for having preserved her virginity inviolate, God 
would reward her in Syracuse with the same glory she 
herself had received in Catania. 

CH. xxvin.i Sf. Lncy, Virgin. 153 

Lucy, animated by this vision, was the more confirmed 
in her resolution of remaining always consecrated to 
Jesus Christ, and told her mother to speak to her no 
more of marriage, but to distribute her fortune among 
the poor. Eutychia answered, that at her death she 
would bequeath all to her, and that she might do with 
it as she pleased; but Lucy replied, that gratitude for 
her miraculous cnre ought to induce her willingly to 
deprive herself during life of that which, at her death, 
she should necessarily leave behind her. 

The mother consented, and when they returned to 
Syracuse, they commenced to sell their property, and 
to distribute the proceeds among the poor. Lucy s 
suitor perceiving this, complained to Eutychia; but he 
found that his representations were totally ineffectual, 
and, in his rage, accused her before the governor, Pas- 
chasius, as being a Christian, contrary to the edicts of 
Diocletian and Maximian. The saint was accordingly 
arrested and brought before the governor, who endeav 
ored to persuade her to sacrifice to the idols ; but Lucy 
replied, that the sacrifice most agreeable to God was the 
relief of the poor, in which she was actually engaged 
and that she was prepared to sacrifice even her life. 

Paschasius replied, that she ought to obey the em 
peror, as he did; but the saint answered: "Day and 
night I meditate upon the divine law; and if thou art 
anxious to please the emperor, I am anxious to please 
my God; therefore it is that I have consecrated to him 
my virginity." Paschasius in his rage told her that she 
was impurity itself. The saint replied: " No, thou art 
impurity, since thou dost endeavor to corrupt Christian 
souls, alienating them from God, to serve the devil, 
wrongly preferring, as thou dost, the goods of this world 
to those of heaven." Paschasius: "Torments shall 
stop thy mouth." Lucy: * Words shall never be want 
ing to the servants of God. since the Lord hath promised 

154 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

that the Holy Ghost shall speak through them." Pas 
chasius: " Then the Holy Ghost is within thee ?" Lucy: 
" St. Paul hath said, that those who live chastely and 
piously are the temples of the Holy Ghost." 2 "Since 
this is the case," said the tyrant, " I will cause thee to be 
brought to an infamous place, in order that the Holy 
Ghost may leave thee." The saint replied: " The body 
receiveth no stain when the will is averse to sin; on the 
contrary, the violence you meditate would double my 

The governor then threatened the most horrid tor 
tures, in case she continued obstinate. The saint 
intrepidly exclaimed: Behold my body ready to suffer 
every torture ! why dost tliou delay ? Begin the execu 
tion of that to which the devil, thy father, prompts 
thee." Paschasius, maddened with rage, ordered that 
she should instantly be brought to the place of infamy, 
in order that she might first lose the honor of virginity, 
and then be deprived of life. 

The guards endeavored to execute this command, but 
found that God had rendered her so immovable, that all 
their exertions were insufficient to drag her from the 
spot. Paschasius in astonishment exclaimed: "What 
incantation is this?" The saint replied: " This is not an 
incantation, but the power of God. Why dost thou 
fatigue thyself ? Dost thou not manifestly perceive that 
I am the temple of the Lord ?" 

Paschasius, more confused and infuriated than ever, 
ordered a great fire to be kindled round the saint that 
she might be burned; but Lucy, nothing daunted, said 
to the tyrant: " I will pray to the Lord Jesus that the 
fire may not injure me, in order that the faithful may 
witness the divine power, and that the infidels may be 
confused." The friends of Paschasius. unwilling that 

1 Matt. x. 20. : i Cor. v. ifi-vi. 19. 

CH. xxviii.] ,5V. Lucy, Virgin. 155 

the people should witness any further miracle, advised 
him to have her beheaded; but after having been tor 
tured in many other ways, her throat was pierced with 
the point of a sword. 1 The saint did not expire imme 
diately; she threw herself on her knees, offered her 
death to God; and having foretold that peace would 
soon be restored to the Church, consummated her mar 
tyrdom, in the year 303 or 304, Her name is inserted in 
the Canon of the Mass. 2 

1 See the Breviary and the martyrology. 

2 After the persecution there were built at Syracuse, in honor of St. 
Lucy, two churches, of which one was in the city where her body was 
buried, and the other outside of the city, in the place where she was 
martyred. One of her arms was afterwards taken to Constantinople, and 
thence to Venice. In the eighth century, the Duke of Spoleto, having 
made himself master of Sicily, had the relics of the saint taken away to 
enrich therewith the city of Corsino, in his duchy; and in 970, Thierry, 
Bishop of Metz, having come to Italy with the Emperor Otto I., 
obtained this great treasure for the church of St. Vincent at Metz, where 
he had it deposited in a sumptuous chapel. The second arm was given 
in 1042 to the abbey of Liutburg. The precious relics of the saint hav 
ing fortunately escaped the sacrilegious fury of the revolutionists, repose 
at present in the Church of Ottange (Moselle). They have been every 
where, and are even now, venerated with the greatest devotion. (See 
Giry, Paris, 1860.) ED. 

J 56 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 


November 12 and February 4. 

ST. NICHOLAS was born in the city of Canea, in Candia, 
of noble and pious parents, who sent him to Constanti 
nople for his education, and placed him under St. The- 
odorus, abbot of the monastery of Studius, from which 
the saint was called the " Studite." St. Theodorus first 
placed him in the seminary where the youths were edu 
cated apart from the monks, but finding the progress 
which he made in virtue, he allowed him, while yet very 
young, to make his religious profession. Nicholas soon 
manifested that he had dedicated himself to God with- 

* A celebrated monastery of Constantinople; hence the surname of 
Studite, given to St. Theodorus and St. Nicholas. We read in the 
martyrology, November 12: "St. Theodorus the Studite, who, by the 
combat that he sustained for the Catholic faith against the iconoclast 
heretics, has made himself famous in the whole Church." He was of a 
very distinguished family, and had for his master in spiritual life St. 
Plato, his uncle, Abbot of Symboleon, then of Saccudion, near Constanti 
nople, where he succeeded him in 794. He was beaten with rods and 
exiled to Thessalonica by order of the Emperor Constantine VI., 
whose scandalous marriage he had blamed. Having been restored to 
his community after the sad death of this prince in 797, he assumed the 
direction of it, and afterwards transferred it to the monastery of Stu 
dius in order to avoid the insults of the Mussulmans, who were 
already making incursions as far as the gates of the city. As for St. 
Nicholas, we do not find him inscribed in the Roman martyrology, but 
the Bollandists give his Life on February 4. This Life is so intimately 
united with that of his illustrious master, that it is, so to speak, one and 
the same history. This is the reason why we have believed it to be well 
to place the two names at the head of the paragraph, although the orig 
inal bears only the name of St. Nicholas. ED. 

CHAP, xxix.] SS. Theodorus and Nicholas. 1 5 7 

out reserve; he was obedient not only to the abbot, but 
to every individual of the community; and whatever 
time remained after the discharge of the duties which 
were imposed upon him, he spent in holy prayer. His 
example became so edifying, that the monks regarded 
him as a model of perfection, and besought St. Theo 
dorus to promote him to the priesthood, which dignity 
he was induced to receive only by obedience. 

At this time was raging the persecution of Leo the 
Armenian, who had deposed Michael I., and declared 
himself in favor of the Iconoclasts. Having attained the 
imperial dignity, he wished to bring over the bishops 
and principal abbots to his party. St. Theodorus hav 
ing been called to the court for this purpose, resisted the 
impious attempts of Leo, and was in consequence ban 
ished. The charity of St. Nicholas induced him to fol 
low the holy abbot into exile. 

When they arrived at the Castle of Mesope, in Mysia, 
they were shut up in a dark dungeon; and, at the end 
of a year, were brought out to receive a hundred stripes; 
after which they were again sent to prison, with the in 
tention of starving the-m to death, but were subsequently 
removed to the Castle of Bonitus. An ambassador ar 
rived there from the emperor, to ask them if they had 
written a letter, condemning his doctrine regarding holy 
images. Nicholas affirmed that he had written the let 
ter, whereupon the ambassador caused him to be sus 
pended in the air, together with Theodorus, and both to 
be cruelly scourged for a considerable time. Naked and 
bleeding as they were, he commanded that they should be 
exposed to the cold, which was at that time very severe, 
in the hope that they would thus expire. These expec 
tations, however, not having been realized, the saints 
were again brought back to prison, where they suffered 
cold, hunger, and every other hardship, for the space of 
three years. After this, they were transferred to an- 

158 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

other prison in Smyrna, where they were again cruelly 
scourged, and afterwards chained by the feet to a post, 
for twenty months; during which time they were fre 
quently put to the torture. 

The saints, after having suffered seven years persecu 
tion, were at last set at liberty, on the accession of Mi 
chael, surnamed the Stutterer, who, on Christmas eve, 
caused Leo the Armenian to be assassinated in the 
church, and took possession of his throne. When re 
turning to Constantinople, they were everywhere re 
ceived with great honors, and several miracles were 
wrought in their journey. They did not, however, re 
main a long time in the monastery of Studius, for The- 
odorus, after fruitless efforts to convert the new em 
peror, who continued the war against holy images, 
wished to retire to the peninsula of St. Tryphon, near 
Calcedonia, in order to lead an eremitical life ; and 
Nicholas followed him. In this place the holy ablpot 
finished his crown, giving up his beautiful soul to God, 
November n, 826, at the age of sixty-eight. 

Nicholas wished to remain, to live near the sepulchre 
of his holy master. But a new persecution having been 
raised by the Emperor Theophilus, who succeeded his 
father Michael, in the year 829, our saint was obliged to 
fly from this retreat, and to wander from place to place, 
until he was received by a pious lady, in one of her 
country houses, where he remained in the practice of 
piety, until, upon the death of Naucratius, Abbot of Stu 
dius, the monks unanimously elected him their Superior; 
his enemy, Theophilus, having died in the year 842. He 
governed the Community for three years, when his hu 
mility induced him to resign the office in favor of a holy 
priest called Sophronius, and to retire again to his soli 

He enjoyed his retirement for four years only, when 
the Abbot Sophronius dying, the monks, by their tears 

CHAP, xxix.] SS. Theodorus and Nicholas. 1 59 

and entreaties, compelled him to assume again the gov 
ernment of the monastery. But here he had to suffer 
new persecutions; for the Emperor Michael III. took for 
his associate in the empire, his uncle Bardas, a most 
scandalous man, whom St. Ignatius, Patriarch of Con 
stantinople, had excommunicated for the horrid crime 
of incest, and was, in consequence, banished from his 
see, into which the impious Photius was intruded. Our 
saint, being unwilling to hold communion with this 
schismatic, retired to a house in the country, belonging 
to the monastery of Studius. 

St. Nicholas having shown, by his departure, his dis 
approval of the emperor s conduct in banishing St. Ig 
natius, received a visit in his retirement from the em 
peror, and Bardas, who wished to gain him over, in 
order to quiet the people. But the saint openly up 
braided Bardas with his excesses, in such unmeasured 
terms, that the princes were exceedingly enraged, and 
forbade him to live in any house belonging to the mon- 
.astery of Studius. He therefore retired to a little house 
in Constantinople, which had been given him for char 
ity; but being here subject to the importunity of the 
emperor, he retired to the island of Chersonesus, where, 
after two years, he was discovered, arrested, and im 
prisoned in his own monastery. For two years more he 
remained here, bound hand and foot. 

Basil having succeeded to the empire upon the death 
of Michael, banished the impious Photius, restored St. 
Ignatius to his see, and having set our saint at liberty, 
obliged him to assume, for the third time, the govern 
ment of the monastery of Studius; where he ultimately 
died, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, in 868 a mar 
tyr, not indeed of blood, but certainly of suffering, con 
stancy, and patience. 

i 60 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 


December 10. 

ST. EULALIA was born of a noble Spanish family 
at Merida, then the capital of Lusitania, toward the be 
ginning of the fourth century, when the persecution of 
Diocletian and Maximian was raging most violently, 
that is to say, in 304. 

Her parents were pious Christians, who took care to 
educate her in sentiments of piety; and they had the 
consolation of seeing her totally given to practices of 
virtue and inflamed with the love of Jesus Christ, to 
whom she consecrated her virginity at a very early age, 
and for whose honor she was .anxious to suffer martyr 
dom. She therefore took the greatest pleasure in hear 
ing of the victories, or reading the Acts of the martyrs. 

St. Eulalia was only twelve years old when she heard 
the edicts of the emperors published in Merida; yet she 
began to prepare herself for the struggle. Her mother, 
perceiving her ardor, endeavored to mitigate it, by rep 
resenting to her the horrible tortures to which the con 
fessors of the faith were exposed, but this only inflamed 
the holy enthusiasm of Eulalia still more. Calpurnianus, 
having arrived at Merida to execute the imperial man 
dates, her mother brought her to a country house, and 
watched her very closely. 

The saint, inspired by God, spoke to a young lady 
named Julia, who had been given her as a companion, 
and persuaded her to escape with her to the city, in 
search of martyrdom. 1 This they effected in the night, 

1 It is well known that St. Teresa with her young brother did the 
same thing when she was seven years old. See Volume VIII. pp. 
370, 381. ED. 

CHAP, xxx.] SS. Eulalia and Julia, Virgins. 161 

travelling without a light or a guide. The impatient 
zeal of Eulalia caused her to walk so quickly, that Julia, 
being unable to keep pace with her, at length exclaimed: 
" Walk as fast as thou canst I have a presentiment 
that I shall receive the crown of martyrdom before 

The two young heroines, travelling by night over an 
unknown country, injured their feet very much ; they 
arrived, however, at the city in the morning, and pre 
sented themselves to Calpurnianus, whom Eulalia up 
braided with the impiety of doing honor to the devil, by 
worshipping statues of wood and stone. The prefect, 
surprised to hear a young girl speak so, asked her who 
she was, and why she spoke with such boldness. The 
saint replied: "I am a Christian, and the God whom I 
adore inspires me with a horror of thy impiety." The 
prefect said: "But knowest thou, child, to whom thou 
speakest ?" She answered: "I am aware that I speak 
with the governor, and therefore it is that I call it an 
impiety to oblige Christians to sacrifice to false gods." 
Calpurnianus endeavored to gain her over, first by 
promises, and afterwards by threats; but the saint con 
tinued to proclaim herself a Christian, and that she was 
most anxious to lay down her life for Jesus Christ. Car 
dinal Orsi ! and Fleury 2 add, that she spat in the face of 
the judge, threw down the idols, and trampled upon the 
flour which had been provided for an offering. 

The judge thereupon commanded the executioners to 
torture her. They lacerated her entire body with 
scourges armed with lead, poured boiling oil over her 
wounds, and applied burning torches to her sides and 
breasts ; she, however, bore all this without uttering a 
word, except to bless the Lord, and return him thanks. 
The tyrant, enraged at the constancy of the young vir- 

1 1st or. fed. 1. 9, n. 51. J Hist. <r</. 1. S, n. 46. 


1 62 Martyrs of t lie First Ages. (.PART i. 

gin, ordered that her flesh should be torn off with iron 
hooks until the bones should be laid bare. The saint, 
then, with uplifted eyes, exclaimed : " Behold, my Sa 
viour, these wounds make me believe that I am des 
tined to be thy spouse; do thou, of thy mercy, render 
me worthy to be so." Finally, the tyrant, perceiving 
that nothing could weaken her constancy, determined 
to burn her alive. 

The executioners therefore kindled a great fire around 
her, and the flames catching her hair she was quickly 
smothered. This circumstance is described in verse by 
Prudentius, 1 who lived toward the end of the century in 
which she suffered. She consummated her sacrifice on 
the loth December. 

Prudentius also relates, and Fleury also adds his tes 
timony, that, when the holy martyr expired, the by 
standers saw a dove, so resplendent that it dazzled the 
beholders, proceeding from her mouth, and winging its 
flight to heaven. 

A great snow fell, and covered the saint s body, which 
gave the Christians an opportunity of burying it near 
the place of her martyrdom. When peace had been re 
stored to the Church under Constantine, a magnificent 
church was raised over her tomb, which the Lord glori 
fied by many miracles. In the eighth century, that the 
body of the saint might be preserved from the profana 
tions of the Saracens, it was translated to the cathedral 
of Oviedo, and placed in a rich chapel dedicated in her 

While St. Eulalia was undergoing her tortures, her 
companion, St. Julia, was arrested as a Christian, and 
condemned to be beheaded; and this was done immedi 
ately. Thus was her prediction verified, since she died 
before our young heroine had consummated her sacri 

1 I*?) ) stcpJl. JlVl1l. 9. 

CHAP, xxxi.] Si. Pollio, Lector. 163 


April 28. 

CARDINAL ORSI relates that in the city of Cibales,* 
Pollio was presented to the governor, Probus, who asked 
him whether he was a Christian. Pollio answered that 
he was a Christian, and the chief of the Lectors. Pro- 
bus asked : " Of what Lectors?" The saint replied : 
"Of those who read the Word of God to the people." 
" Of those, perhaps," added Probus, " who are in the habit 
of seducing silly women, persuading them to refrain 
from marriage, and to observe a foolish continency?" 
Pollio rejoined: " Those, indeed, are foolish who aban 
don their Creator, to follow thy superstitions; on the 
contrary, they are wise who, notwithstanding their tor 
tures, persevere in the observance of the command 
ments." Probus: "Of whose commandments speakest 
thou ?" Pollio: " Of those that teach us to adore one 
only God, and not gods made of stone or wood: that 
teach sinners to be converted, and the virtuous to per 
severe that teach virgins their exalted dignity, and 
married persons the observance of modesty that teach 
subjects to obey, and legislators to command just things; 
finally, I speak of those commandments that teach us to 
aspire to eternal life, and to despise the death that thou 
canst inflict upon us." Probus: " But what happiness 
can a man hope for, who, with life, has lost the enjoy 
ment of light, and all the pleasures of the world ?" The 

1 htor. , ((/. 1. (), n. 37. 

* (. ibittis, an ancient c-piscopal city, the native place of the emperors 
Yalentian anil Valens, at Swilei, on the Save, in Illvria. En. 

1 64 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

saint answered: "There is an eternal light incalculably 
better than this, which in a short time must, to us, be 
obscured forever! Happiness which never ends is, be 
yond comparison, preferable to that which shortly ter 
minates; and is it prudent to prefer eternal enjoyments 
to those that quickly fail ?" 

Probus interrupted the saint s discourse, saying : 
" What do these words avail ? Do that which the em 
peror hath commanded sacrifice to the gods." Pollio 
replied: "Do thou that which hath been commanded 
thee: I will not sacrifice, for it is written: He that sac 
rifices to devils, and not to God, shall be exterminated. " 
Probus: "Then shall thou be decapitated." Pollio: 
"Execute thy orders: I am obliged to follow the doc- 
Irine which my fathers and bishops have taught me; I 
shall suffer with joy whatever thou mayest infjict." Pro- 
bus was so enraged, that instead of ordering his decapi 
tation, he condemned him to be burned alive. 

When the saint was led to the place of execution, he 
offered himself as a sacrifice to God, and blessed his 
holy name for making him die a martyr for his glory. 
He suffered courageously on the 2yth or 28th of April, 
in the year 304. 


April 2 and 8. 

ST. APIAN : was born in Lycia, of rich and noble par 
ents, who sent him to Berytus, to study the humanities; 
and, notwithstanding that the youths of thai cily were 
exceedingly corrupt, Apian preserved himself from con- 

1 Also called Aphian and Amphian. 

CH. xxxii.] SS. Apian and . Edesius, Brothers. 165 

lamination. Being eighteen years of age, he returned 
to his father s house; but finding that the family had 
continued idolaters, he retired to Csesarea, in Palestine, 
where he was most hospitably received into the house 
of the celebrated Eusebius, who afterwards became 
bishop of that city. Under this great master he stud 
ied the Sacred Scriptures, and practised those austerities 
that prepared him for the glorious end which he made. 

At this time, in the year 306, the Emperor Galerius 
Maximian was not only persecuting the Christians, but 
searching for them with the greatest scrutiny. He 
caused the families to be enrolled, and each individual 
to be summoned, that he might either sacrifice or be put 
to death. Apian prepared himself for this trial, and 
having understood that the governor was about to offer 
a solemn sacrifice to the gods, he went, on the appointed 
day, to the temple. Finding himself influenced by a 
special inspiration from Heaven, he passed the guards, 
approached the impious altar, and, while the governor 
was raising his hand to pour out a libation of wine be 
fore the idol, he seized his arm, and earnestly exhorted 
him to desist from the impiety of offending the true 
God by sacrificing to demons and images. 

The soldiers rushed upon Apian, as though they would 
tear him to pieces; and, having beaten him most cruelly, 
brought him to prison, where they put him to the 
torture of the stocks for four-and-twenty hours. Upon 
the following day he was brought before the governor, 
who, having in vain sought to gain him over by prom 
ises and threats, ordered that his sides should be torn 
with iron hooks, until the bones and bowels should be 
laid bare. He was then buffeted upon the face until he 
became so deformed, that he could not be identified by 
those who had formerly known him. The tyrant, per 
ceiving that these torments made no impression upon 
the saint, caused linen, steeped in oil, to be rolled round 

1 66 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

his legs, and then to be set on fire. It is easy to con 
ceive that the saint suffered the most excruciating tor 
ture from the new infliction, yet he endured it with un- 
diminished fortitude. The governor, after three days, 
finding him armed with the same constancy, ordered 
him to be thrown into the sea. 

Eusebius, 1 an eye-witness, relates that upon the exe 
cution of this sentence, the city was shaken with an 
earthquake, and the sea became violently agitated, and 
cast the body back upon the shore before the gates of 
Csesarea. St. Apian was not quite twenty-nine years of 
age at the time of his martyrdom, which took place in 
the year 306, on the 2d, or, as some will have it, on the 
5th, of April. 

St. ^Edesius, 2 who was the brother of St. Apian, not 
only according to the flesh, but equally so in faith and 
piety, also applied himself to the study of philosophy, 
which served to separate him still more from the world, 
and unite him to Jesus Christ. In this same persecution 
he frequently confessed his adorable name, and suffered 
long imprisonment and various punishments, which he 
endured with Christian fortitude. He was sent to labor 
in the mines of Palestine, from which he was subse 
quently released; but finally, one day, in Alexandria, 
perceiving a judge pronouncing cruel sentences against 
the Christians, and delivering over holy virgins to the 
lusts of abandoned young men, he went forward and 
spoke with such force against these acts of injustice, 
that, as Eusebius says, he covered the persecutors with 
confusion, and received from them the crown of martyr 
dom. Like his brother, he was horribly tortured, and 
afterwards cast into the sea. 

1 De Mart. Palcest. c. 4. - Martyrology, April 8. 

CH. xxxiii.] St. Gordius, Centurion. 167 


January 3. 

ST. GORDIUS, who was born in the third century, fol 
lowed the military profession, and obtained the rank of 
centurion, or captain. St. Basil the Great, who wrote a 
homily in praise of this saint, relates that at the time of 
his martyrdom there was a great persecution of the 
Christians at Caesarea; in the public squares idols of 
wood and stone were exposed, and those who refused to 
sacrifice to them were tortured and put to death. The 
consternation of the faithful was very great, for their 
houses were, with impunity, sacked by the idolaters, the 
prisons filled with Christians, and while the churches 
were deserted, the woods and mountains were peopled 
with the fugitives. 

Hereupon St. Gordius renounced his profession, laid 
aside the military insignia, and retired to the desert, to 
unite himself to God by holy prayer and penitential 
practices. He casually heard that on a certain day 
public games were about to be celebrated at Caesarea, in 
honor of Mars; he accordingly proceeded to the city, and 
beheld there a great concourse, not only of Gentiles, but 
of Christians, who, weak in faith, were not ashamed to 
assist in these festivities of the devil. The saint, in 
spired by the Holy Ghost, proceeded to glorify the 
Christian religion, and to reprobate that of the pagans, 
who adored, and sacrificed to false gods. 

The Gentiles at this interruption of the games vocifer 
ated that the saint should be put to death for his temer 
ity; they seized upon him, therefore, and led him to the 
governor, accusing him of all that he had said. The 
governor, knowing that he had retired to the mountains, 

1 68 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

asked him why he had fled, and afterwards returned. 
St. Gordius replied: "I have returned, because I am 
anxious to die for Jesus Christ; and knowing thee to be 
the most cruel of men, I thought that this afforded me 
the best opportunity of satisfying my desire." 

The tyrant, hearing him speak thus, ordered the exe 
cutioners to prepare their tortures. The saint, nothing 
daunted, fervently offered himself to Jesus Christ, and 
implored strength to suffer for his sake. Scourges, the 
rack, and fire were used to shake the constancy of the 
holy martyr, but he said: "Torture me as much as thou 
pleasest, the more excruciating my agony the greater 
my reward in heaven; for the wounds which now cover 
my body, I shall there be covered with a garment of 
glory; and by the pains which now afflict me, I shall 
earn everlasting joy." 

The governor, perceiving that he could not cause him 
to prevaricate by tortures, endeavored to gain him over 
by promises of riches and honors; but the saint answered: 
"Thou art deceived if thou thinkest that I will barter 
the joys of heaven for the miserable advantages this 
world can afford." Finally, the judge perceiving that 
promises were as ineffectual as threats, pronounced 
upon him sentence of death. 

While the saint was proceeding to the place of execu 
tion, his friends exhorted him to yield, for the present, 
to the wishes of the governor, and not perish thus mis 
erably in his youth. The saint replied: "Weep not for 
me, but for those who persecute the faithful, since for 
them eternal fire is prepared; for my part, I am pre 
pared to die, not once, but a thousand times, for Jesus 
Christ." They urged that, to avoid death, he might 
deny Jesus Christ with his tongue, though he continued 
to adore him in his heart. The saint said: "Far be it 
from me to deny my God with that tongue which he 
himself hath given me." 

CH. xxxiv.] SS. Chrysogomts and Anastasia. 169 

He then armed himself with the sign of the cross, and 
went boldly to encounter death, which, according to St. 
Basil and the Menologies of the Greeks, was that of fire, 
in which he gloriously consummated his martyrdom. 1 



November 24 and December 25. 

ST. CHRYSOGONUS, who is mentioned in the Canon of 
the Mass, was a Roman priest; there are no Acts of this 
saint s martyrdom, and that which we know of is de 
rived from the Acts of St. Anastasia, who is also men 
tioned in the Canon of the Mass, and is commemorated 
by the Church on the 25 ih of December. From these 
Acts we discover that St. Chrysogonus, during the per 
secution of Diocletian, was giving most exemplary proofs 
of his piety at Rome. He passed his nights in the sub 
terraneous oratories, and by day visited the houses of 
the Christians, to strengthen them in the faith, while he 
also effected many conversions among the Gentiles. 

Most remarkable among the children of his ministry 
was Anastasia, a Roman lady of noble descent. Her 
father, Prsetextatus, was an opulent and noble pagan; 
but her mother, who was a Christian, caused her to be 

1 The Menology of Basil, quoted by Hollandus, does not mention the 
kind of death that St. Gordius suffered. The Menologies of the Greeks, 
which are also quoted by Bollandus, say that he perished by the sword : 
Fcrro ocatbuit. Baronius (anno 304, n. 62) leads us to believe that his 
throat was cut: Jugulwn ferro obtulit. St. Basil, however, speaks 
only of flames to which the martyr was consigned. Perhaps the holy 
martyr was stabbed on the funeral pile and burned afterwards as a vic 
tim immolated as a holocaust. ED. 

1 70 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

baptized in her infancy, and secretly reared her in 
sentiments of Christian piety, in which she made great 

The active zeal of St. Chrysogonus in assisting the 
Christians, quickly discovered him to the persecutors; 
he was accused before the prefect at Rome as being the 
greatest enemy of the gods and of the imperial edicts; 
he was accordingly sent to a prison, which he found full 
of Christians. St. Anastasia, inflamed with the love of 
God, occupied her time in consoling and succoring the 
Christians, particularly those who were in prison, whom 
she exhorted to suffer for the faith. Having heard of 
the arrest of St. Chrysogonus, she hurried to his prison, 
and esteemed herself fortunate in having it in her power 
to be of service to him in this trial. St. Chrysogonus 
had been in prison for a year, during which he ceased 
not to instruct and animate those of his fellow-prisoners 
who were Christians, and he had also the consolation 
of converting many pagans to the faith. In this St. 
Anastasia rendered him much assistance, by reason of her 
extraordinary works of charity, which afforded the great 
est edification. 

We must here observe, that St. Anastasia had been 
married to a noble Roman, named Publius, who was a 
pagan; he loved his wife much, but having discovered 
her acts of piety, and that she was a Christian, from a 
loving husband he became a cruel tyrant, confined her 
to the house, and treated her like a slave. The saint, 
instead of being mortified at this maltreatment, was 
rejoiced, as she considered that she suffered for the love 
of Jesus Christ; but she was afflicted at seeing herself 
prevented from assisting the confessors of the faith, and 
accordingly wrote to St. Chrysogonus, requesting him 
to pray to God that he would either convert her hus 
band, or take him out of the world in case he was 
determined to remain obstinate. St. Chrysogonus, in 

CH. xxxiv.] ,515". Chrysogonus and Anastasia. 171 

*/ & * 

answer, exliorted her to be patient, and gave her an 
assurance that God would shortly console her. 

This letter animated the saint with new courage to 
suffer the increased cruelty of her husband, who doubled 
the hardships of her confinement, and allowed her so 
scanty a portion of food, that she thought she could not 
long survive. She therefore wrote again to her holy 
director, imploring him to offer frequent prayers to the 
Almighty in her behalf, that she might die in the grace 
of God. The saint replied, that Jesus Christ permitted 
these things, because he loved her, and that she should 
prepare herself to endure still greater sufferings for his 
glory. So in fact it happened; for Publius, her cruel 
husband, having been appointed by the emperor ambas 
sador to the King of Persia, gave orders to his domestics 
that they should so maltreat his wife during his absence 
that there would be no fear of her being alive upon his 
return. God, however, ordained it otherwise, for Pub 
lius met with an untimely death upon his journey; while 
the saint, having regained her liberty and her property, 
resumed her pious labors in behalf of the prisoners of 
Jesus Christ. 

Meanwhile, St. Chrysogonus had remained two years 
in prison, during which time he ceased not to attend to 
the spiritual wants of his brethren, and to make new 
conversions among the pagan prisoners; of which Dio 
cletian being informed, he commanded that the saint 
should be brought before him, at Aquileja, where he 
then was. The tyrant used all his endeavors to pervert 
the holy priest, and offered him even the prefecture of 
Rome as the reward of his apostasy; but the saint re 
plied, that he knew of no honor so great as that of 
serving the true God; that he found no pleasure in life, 
except that of sacrificing it to Jesus Christ; and finally, 
that the religion ot the empire was only a compound of 
fables, which, instead of being entitled to veneration, 

172 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

deserved only to be despised. Diocletian, infuriated at 
these words, ordered that his head should be instantly 
struck off, which was accordingly done, on the 24th 
November, in the year 303. 

On this day his festival is celebrated by almost all 
the Western Churches. The saint s body was thrown 
into the sea after his martyrdom, but was found two 
days afterwards on the shore, by a holy priest named 
Zoilus, who piously buried it in his house; and who, 
after thirty days, received an assurance from the martyr 
in a vision, that his charity would be soon rewarded. 
From the fifth century there was a church in Rome dedi 
cated to this saint; it was rebuilt in 740, by Pope Greg 
ory III., and at present gives title to a Cardinal. 

Now come we to relate the martyrdom of St. Anasta- 
sia. After the death of St. Chrysogonus, the emperor 
ordered that all the confessors who were in prisons at 
Rome should be brought to Aquileja. Thither, there 
fore, repaired Anastasia to exercise her charity; but, 
being informed that many were about to be sent to 
Macedonia, together with Agapia, Chionia, and Irene/ 
who had already been sentenced, she resolved to accom 
pany them, and to afford them whatever assistance she 
could, by bribing the guards to obtain admission, as she 
had done on former occasions. Having privately sold 
all that she possessed, she had ample means to succor 
the sufferers for the faith. She proceeded one day to 
the prison upon her errand of charity, and having found 
that all the holy confessors had been butchered by order 
of the emperor, she wept bitterly. Some of the officers 
of the court being present, asked her the cause of her 
tears. " I weep," replied the saint, " because I have lost 

1 Three sisters, virgins and martyrs, executed at Thessalonica. The 
first two were burnt alive on April 3, and the third on April 5, accord 
ing to the martyrology. Dom Ruinart has recorded their Acts in his 
collection, after Baronius and Surius. ED. 

CH. xxxiv.] SS. Chrysogonus and Anastasia. \ 73 

my brethren, who have been cruelly put to death." She 
was hereupon arrested, and brought before Florus, pre 
fect of Illyricum. 

The prefect understanding that she was the widow of 
Publius, a favorite of the emperor, who had died on his 
journey to Persia, spoke to her in a very respectful man 
ner, and labored much to induce her to abandon her 
faith; but perceiving by her answers that he was only 
losing his time, he sent her to the emperor. 

Diocletian s avarice induced him to ask her, first of all, 
what she had done with her riches; and the saint an 
swered, that she had distributed them among the poor 
and the Christians, who were so unjustly persecuted. 
The emperor, although irritated at the declaration, con 
tinued to exhort her in respectful language to abandon 
a religion which was proscribed throughout the empire; 
but finding her constancy still the same, he sent her 
back to Florus. 

The latter gave her over to Upian, the pontiff of the 
capitol, in the hope that he would induce her to sacrifice 
to the gods. Upian having used all his arts of persuasion 
in vain, said to her: " Now I shall give thee but three 
days to determine." Anastasia replied: "They are three 
too many; thou mayest imagine them already past. I 
am a Christian, and am anxious to die for Jesus Christ. 
From me thou shalt never get any other answer." Upian 
then employed the assistance of three idolatrous wom 
en ; but this having proved also ineffectual, he made 
a second attempt himself, in which, he had the effrontery 
to be guilty of some immodest action. This was in 
stantly punished by the Almighty; for he was struck 
blind upon the spot, and seized by convulsions that 
within an hour terminated his life. 

Florus, enraged at the death of Upian, caused the 
saint to be shut up in prison, with the intention of starv 
ing her; but the Lord having miraculously preserved 

1/4 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

her life, the prefect believed that the jailer had trans 
gressed his orders, and therefore caused her to be re 
moved to another prison, where also she still continued 
to live without food. The prefect having some unwill 
ingness to shed her blood, ordered her to be put on 
board a ship, which was bored, together with one hun 
dred and twenty idolaters who had been condemned to 
that death. The ship soon filled with water, but instead 
of sinking went ashore; and the miracle worked the con 
version of all these persons, who afterwards had the 
glory of suffering martyrdom for Jesus Christ St. An- 
astasia was then conducted to the island of Palmarola, 
under sentence of death; she consummated her triumph 
in the flames. 

A Christian lady obtained her body, and gave it hon 
orable burial near Zara, in Dalmatia ; but about the 
year 460, under the Emperor Leo, her relics were trans 
lated to Constantinople, and placed, as Cardinal Orsi 
writes, 1 in the celebrated church of the Resurrection,* 
called The Anastasia.\ This church was used by St. 

1 Is/or. ( (-</. 1. 9, n. 45. 

* Alban Butler says with greater authority that the relics translated 
to Constantinople seem to have been those of St. Anastasia the Elder, 
martyred at Sirmich (or at Rome, according to the martyrology, Octo 
ber 28, and our author, Chap. LVIL), under Valerian, and that the body 
of St. Anastasia, widow, called the Junior, was transferred to Rome 
and deposited in the church that still bears her name. It was in this 
church that the Pope in ancient times used to celebrate the second Mass 
of Christmas, in which a commemoration of the saint is made. The 
holy widow did not live a long time with her unworthy husband; she 
was therefore very young; and we read in her first letter to St. Chry- 
sogonus that she had preserved her virginity. This is undoubtedly the 
reason why several authors give her the title of virgin. En. 

f The origin of this appellation was the following: The violent Arian 
Bishop, Macedonius, obtained from the Emperor Constantius an edict 
commanding that the churches of all those who maintained that God the 
Son was consubstantial with the Father should be pulled down. This 

CH. xxxv.] St. Fructuosns and his Deacons. i 75 

Gregory Nazianzen as a cathedral, and was afterwards 
burned during the episcopate of St. John Chrysostom. 
The feast of St. Anastasia is celebrated on the 25th of 
December, Christmas Day. 



January 21. 

THE Acts of these martyrs, as found in Ruinart, relate 
that in the year 259, under the Emperors Valerian and 
Gallien, the Bishop Fructuosus, Bishop of Tarragona, 
in Spain, with his two deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, 
were apprehended by order of Emilian, the governor of 
the province. 

. The holy prelate had retired to his room when the 
soldiers came to arrest him. On hearing the noise he 
opened the door; and being informed that the governor 
had summoned him and his two deacons, he said: "We 
are ready; but if you permit me, I will put on my shoes." 
This done, the three confessors were led to prison. 

intolerant measure affected the Novatians as well as the Catholics, and 
one of their churches in Constantinople was demolished. They, how 
ever, assembled in such numbers, and men, women, and children labored 
so perseveringly, that in a surprisingly short time they transferred the 
materials to the other side of the water, and built their church there. 
The Emperor Julian afterwards gave them their original site, and again 
they brought back their materials; and having rebuilt the church, and 
rendered it more magnificent than before, they called it " The Anasta 
sia," i.e., the resuscitated. It is in this sense only that it can be styled 
" The Church of the Resurrection," for it was not dedicated in honor of 
the Resurrection of our Lord, but to the Eternal Wisdom, as the title, 
San eta Sophia, implies. 

i 76 Martyrs of the First Ages* [PART i. 

After six days imprisonment they were brought before 
the governor, who, turning to Fructuosus, said: "Hast 
thou heard that which the emperors have commanded ?" 
The saint replied: " I know it not; but this I know, that 
I am a Christian." Emilian: "They have commanded 
that the gods be honored." Fructuosus: " For my part, 
I adore only one God, who hath made heaven and earth." 
Emilian: "Art thou not aware of the existence of the 
gods?" Fructuosus: "I am not." Emilian: "Shortly 
thou shalt be. To what will men render homage, if they 
adore not the gods and the images of the emperors ?" 
Then turning to Augurius, the deacon, he said: " Give no 
ear to the words of Fructuosus." Augurius replied: "I 
adore one omnipotent God." The governor then turned 
to Eulogius and said: "Perhaps thou also adorest Fruc 
tuosus?" The deacon replied: "No; I adore him not; 
but I adore the same God whom he worships." The 
governor, then turning to Fructuosus, asked him: "Art 
thou the bishop?" The saint replied: "Yes, I am." 
Emilian said: "Thou shouldst have rather said, I have 
been, for thou shalt be so no longer. I condemn ye all 
three to the flames." 

Whilst St. Fructuosus and his deacons were being led 
to the amphitheatre to undergo their sentence, the peo 
ple, moved to compassion for the venerable bishop, who 
was beloved not only by the faithful, but even by the 
idolaters, presented him a cup, requesting him to drink 
and be strengthened; but he refused, saying, that it was 
not yet the hour for breaking the fast. 1 When they 
arrived at the amphitheatre, the saint appeared filled 
with a tranquil joy; his lector, Augustalis, came to him 
weeping, and begged he would permit him to take off 

1 There was question, says Alban Butler, of the fast called the fast of 
the stations, which was kept on Wednesdays and Fridays; it was not 
broken till None, that is, about three o clock in the afternoon, and it 
was then ten o clock in the morning. ED. 

en. xxxv i St. Fructitosus and Jits Deacons. \ 77 

his shoes. "No, my son/ replied the holy bishop, 
"allow me to take them off myself; for the certainty 
which I have of the divine promises gives me sufficient 
strength." Having taken off his shoes, one of the faith 
ful took him by the hand, and desired he would remem 
ber him in his prayers. The saint replied: "I am bound 
to pray for the whole Catholic Church, from east to 
west." By these words, as St. Augustine observes, 1 he 
wished to signify that each one of the faithful becomes 
a participator in all the prayers of the Church. 

When he was about to receive the crown of martyr 
dom he raised his voice, as the Acts relate, and said to 
the Christians: Be not afraid; you shall not be left 
without a pastor, for the love and the promises of the 
Lord never fail. That which you see me now about to 
suffer, is the pain only of an hour." Having said these 
words, he was, together with his companions, encircled 
with fire; but the Lord so disposed it, that the flames 
consumed only the bands with which their hands were 
tied; wherefore, being at liberty to stretch forth their 
arms, they prostrated themselves in prayer, and raising 
their hands to Heaven, besought the Almighty to allow 
the fire to consume them, that their sacrifice might be 
completed. The Lord vouchsafed to hear their prayers, 
and, placidly expiring, they went to receive the reward 
of their martyrdom. 

After their death, God was pleased to glorify his ser 
vants, by manifesting their triumph to two Christians, 
Babylas and Mygdone, who were domestics of the gov 
ernor. These saw the heavens open, and St. Fructuosus 
between his two deacons, surrounded with a halo of 
glory, and ascending to receive their crowns. They 
called Emilianus to witness the ascent into heaven of 
those whom he had that day condemned; but he was 
unworthy a heavenly vision. 

1 Scrm. 273, E. B. 

I 78 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i 

The faithful, who were exceedingly afflicted at the 
death of their pastor, came in the night to the amphi 
theatre, extinguished the smouldering remains of the 
fire, and were carrying away the bones of the martyrs; 
but the holy bishop appeared to them, and commanded 
that all the relics should be buried together. 

The Acts of these martyrs terminate with the follow 
ing devout aspiration: " O blessed martyrs! like gold, 
they have been tried in the furnace, and found worthy a 
crown of everlasting glory: to this crown their example 
invites us also !" St. Augustine, in a sermon delivered 
on the anniversary of these martyrs, observes that, from 
the fact that they have attained to such glory, although 
being men of the same condition that we are, we should 
hope to overcome all the obstacles to our salvation, 
through the grace of Jesus Christ, who can render that 
easy, which our weakness looks upon as insuperable. 1 



March 25. 

IT is believed that St. Irenaeus was born in the city of 
which he was afterwards bishop; and, although it is 
probable that his parents were pagans, he professed the 
faith of Jesus Christ from his childhood. He married at 
an early age, and had many children, whom he left 
young behind him at the time of his martyrdom. This 
saint gave such extraordinary examples of virtue, that 
he deserved to be made Bishop 2 of Sirmium while yet a 
young man; and from the time he received that charge, 
he ceased not to combat the enemies of the faith, and to 

1 Serin. 273, E. B. -See note, page 113. 

CH. xxxvi.] St. Irenceus, Bishop of Sirmium. \ 79 

defend his flock from their artifices, until he terminated 
a brilliant career in the glory of martyrdom. 

The edicts of the Emperor Diocletian against the 
Christians were published in Sirmium in the year 304, 
and Probus, the governor of Lower Pannonia, was most 
indefatigable in putting them into execution. The 
ecclesiastics, and particularly the bishops, were the first 
objects of his unholy zeal; for he thought that by strik 
ing the pastors he could the more easily disperse the 
flock of Jesus Christ. 

Irenaeus was accordingly arrested, and brought before 
Probus, who said to him : "Obey the imperial edicts, 
and sacrifice to the gods." The saint replied: The 
Scripture saith that whosoever sacrifices to false gods 
shall be exterminated." 1 Probus: "The princes have 
commanded that all Christians shall sacrifice to the 
gods, or shall be tortured." Irenaeus: " But I have been 
commanded to suffer all tortures rather than deny my 
God, and sacrifice to demons." Probus: "Either sacri 
fice, or I will put thee to the torture." Irenaeus: " In 
doing so, thou shalt please me; for thus shall I be made 
a participator of the Passion of my Saviour." 

Hereupon the governor commanded that he should 
be tortured; and, seeing that he suffered much, said: 
" What dost thou now say, Irenaeus ? Wilt thou now 
sacrifice?" The saint replied: "I sacrifice, by my con 
fession, to my God, to whom I have always sacrificed." 

During the torments of St. Irenaeus, his father, his 
wife and children, his domestics and friends, came to 
implore of him to obey the emperors. His children 
embraced his feet, crying out: " Father, if thou hast no 
pity for thyself, have pity, at least, on us." The wife, 
with many tears, besought him not to leave her discon 
solate; while his friends exhorted him not to throw away 

1 Dent. xiii. 

180 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

his life in his youth. But the saint, like an immovable 
rock upon which the waves lose their strength, armed 
himself against their assaults with the words of the Sav 
iour: But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny 
him before my Father who is in heaven? To their importu 
nities he returned not a single word of reply, but sighed 
only for the consummation of his martyrdom. Probus 
then said to him: " Irenseus, abandon this thy folly; sac 
rifice to the gods, and destroy not thyself in the prime 
of life." The saint answered: " It is that I may not de 
stroy myself for all eternity, that I refuse to sacrifice." 
He was then taken down and sent to prison, where he 
had to endure various tortures for several days. 

After some time, Probus, seated upon his tribunal, 
ordered that the holy bishop should be again brought 
before him, and, upon his appearance, said: " Irenseus, 
now at length sacrifice, and free thyself from the tor 
ments which otherwise await thee." The saint replied: 
" Do that which thou art commanded to do, and do not 
at all imagine that I am likely to obey thee." Probus, 
enraged at this answer, caused him to be scourged in 
his presence, during which infliction the saint said: 
" From my childhood I have adored the one only God, 
who has always assisted and comforted me, and I can 
not adore gods made by the hands of men." Probus: 
" Let the torments which thou hast already suffered 
suffice thee; free thyself from death." Irenaeus: " I do 
free myself from death, when, by the pains which I suf 
fer, I gain eternal life." 

The governor then asked him, whether he had a wife, 
children, or parents alive; but Irenaeus answered that he 
had not, adding: "I say I have not, because Jesus 
Christ hath declared that whosoever loveth father or 
mother, wife or children, more than Him, is not worthy 

1 Matt. x. 33. 

CH. xxxvi. i St. Ircnteus, Bishop of Sir mm m. 181 

of Him." 1 Probus: "Sacrifice at least for thy chil 
dren s sake." Irenaeus: "My children have God to 
provide for them." Probus: " Do not oblige me to put 
thee again to the torture." Irenaeus: "Do thy pleasure; 
but thou shalt see what constancy my Lord Jesus Christ 
will give me to overcome all thy arts." 

Probus then ordered Irenaeus to be cast into the river; 
but the saint, hearing the sentence, exclaimed: " I 
thought, that, after so many threats, thou wouldst have 
caused me to suffer many tortures, and to be cut to 
pieces; I beseech thee to do so, that thou mayest per 
ceive how Christians, who have faith in God, despise 

Probus, enraged at these words, ordered that the saint 
should be beheaded, and then cast into the river. The 
holy bishop, perceiving that his end was approaching, 
returned thanks to Jesus Christ for having given him 
the necessary fortitude, and for calling him, by such a 
death, to the participation of his glory. When he ar 
rived at the bridge of Diana, which was the place 
selected for the execution, he threw off his garments, 
and prayed thus: "O Lord Jesus Christ! who didst 
vouchsafe to die for the salvation of the world, I beseech 
Thee that Thy angels may receive my soul; since I most 
willingly suffer death for the honor of Thy name, and the 
edification of Thy Church. Receive me into Thy glory 
for Thy mercy s sake, and strengthen my flock in Thy 
holy faith." His head was then struck off, and his body 
thrown into the river Save. 

1 Malt. x. 37. 

182 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PAR 



November 22 and April 14. 

ST. CECILIA, virgin and martyr, has always been most 
celebrated in the Church of God; even from the fourth 
century a church has been dedicated to her honor in 
Rome; and honorable mention is made of her, not only 
in all the martyrologies, but even in the Canon of the 
Mass. In the eighth century there was a report that 
Astulphus, King of the Longobards, had carried off the 
body of our saint from Rome; but she appeared, in a 
vision, to Pope Paschal I., assured him that the report 
was false, and encouraged him to seek her relics. The 
holy pontiff found them, in the cemetery of Praetexta- 
tus, on the Appian road; and, having rebuilt her church, 
placed them there in the year 821. After a lapse of 
nearly eight centuries, when the place in which the 
saint s body had been deposited was forgotten, it was 
again discovered, in 1599, in a case of cypress-wood, 
within a marble sarcophagus, together with some linen 
cloths, steeped in her blood. The celebrated Cardinal 
Baronius witnessed this second discovery; and Pope 
Clement VIII. placed the case, containing her body, in 
another very precious one of silver, where it still remains. 

As regards the history of St. Cecilia, we must observe 
that some writers doubt the authenticity of her original 

1 This was on the occasion of the second rebuilding of her church, by 
Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfrondato, to whom Rome is indebted for the 
present most magnificent church called " Santa Cecilia in Trastevere" 

CH. xxxvii.] St. Cecilia and her Companions. 183 

Acts; but, as they have been generally received, in both 
the Greek and Latin Churches, for fourteen centuries, 
we shall make use of them in the present narration. 1 
According to the most generally received opinion, our 
saint was born at Rome about the beginning of the third 
century, and was descended of a most ancient Roman 
family. She professed the Christian faith from her 
childhood, although it is uncertain whether her parents 
were Christians or idolaters. By reason of her extraor 
dinary natural endowments, she was sued for by the 
most opulent and noble of the Roman youth, but in 
variably declined their offers, as she had dedicated her 
self entirely to Jesus Christ, and resolved that He only 
should be her spouse. It is said of her, that she took 
great delight in playing upon musical instruments, ac 
companying herself upon which, she used to sing the 
praises of the Lord. Her Acts also relate that she con 
tinually carried about with her a copy of the holy Gos 
pels, in order that she might follow the blessed maxims 
and counsels therein contained; and her life was accord 
ingly spent in holy prayer, and the mortification of the 

In the mean time, her parents determined to give her 
in marriage to a noble youth, named Valerian. Cecilia, 
however, lost not her courage; but, during the three 
days that immediately preceded her marriage, she ob 
served a rigorous fast, and put on a rough sackcloth, 
which she never afterwards took off. To these peniten 
tial practices she added continual prayer, beseeching the 
Lord Jesus Christ, that he would not permit her to lose 
that virginity which she had already consecrated to him. 
She was heard. The Lord consoled her through her 
angel guardian, who, appearing visibly to her, told her 

1 Dom Gueranger, in his history of St. Cecilia, defends these Acts 
with as much learning as argument against the critics of whom they 
have been the targets in the two last centuries. ED. 

184 Martyrs of tJie First Ages. [PART i. 

that lie would assist her, and that Valerian, although 
destined to be her spouse, should not offend her. With 
this assurance she consented to the marriage. 


Upon the night following the celebration of this cere 
mony, St. Cecilia said to Valerian: "Know, Valerian, 
that I am a Christian. From my infancy I have been 
consecrated to God, by dedicating to him my virginity; 
and he has appointed an angel from heaven to protect 
me from every insult. At thy peril, therefore, do not 
anything to me, by which thou mayest excite the wrath 
of the Lord/ Upon hearing this, Valerian was afraid 
to touch her, and said that he also would believe in Je 
sus Christ, if he were allowed to see the angel. Cecilia 
overjoyed at this announcement, told him that he could 
not expect such a favor without being baptized. Valer 
ian, inflamed with the desire of seeing the angel, said he 
was willing to comply with this condition. Hereupon 
Cecilia directed him to St. Urban, who, by reason of the 
persecution, was concealed in the catacombs; and Valer 
ian, having received the necessary instruction, was bap 
tized by that holy Pope. 

On his return home he found St. Cecilia in prayer, 
and accompanied by the angel, surrounded with rays of 
heavenly splendon As soon as he recovered from the 
vision, he determined to use all his energies in order to 
induce his brother, Tiburtius, whom he tenderly loved, 
to embrace the Christian faith. To this end he related 
what had happened to himself; and Cecilia, who was 
present at their conversation, undertook to demonstrate 
to Tiburtius the truth of the Christian religion, and to 
show that the superstitions of the pagans were a collec 
tion of fables and falsehoods, invented by the devil for 
the perdition of souls. While she spoke, the grace of 
God touched the heart of Tiburtius, and he also was in 
structed and baptized by St. Urban. 

The two brothers being thus happily made followers 

CH. xxxvn. i St. Cecilia and her Companions. i 85 

of Jesus Christ, employed themselves in relieving the 
poor, consoling the confessors of the faith, and burying 
the bodies of the martyrs. Almachius, prefect of Rome, 
and mortal enemy of the Christians, being informed of 
this, summoned them to his presence, and rebuked them 
for thus identifying themselves with the Christians; but 
they answered that, having been illuminated by God, 
they were led to know the vanity and deceit of all 
worldly things, and that it was madness to prefer the 
transitory goods of this life to the inamissible joys of 
heaven. The prefect asked: "Who has taught ye this 
folly ?" They answered: " It is folly, sir, to worship a 
statue of stone or of wood, instead of the true God, and 
to prefer a life that lasts but a few days, to an eternal 
beatitude. Heretofore we also have partaken of this 
folly, but henceforth we are resolved to be wiser. And 
thou, Almachius, sliouldst thou continue to worship 
false gods, shalt bewail thy folly after death, when there 
shall be no remedy for thy eternal ruin." 

Almachius, enraged at this admonition, caused the 
brothers to be scourged so cruelly that they were very 
near expiring under the infliction; yet these young 
Christians ceased not their thanksgiving to Jesus Christ 
for having made them worthy to shed their blood for his 
sake. The prefect then decreed that they should be 
brought to the temple of Jove to sacrifice, commanding 
at the same time that they should be put to death in 
case of refusal. The execution of these orders was en 
trusted to an officer named Maximus. 

The latter, seeing the joy with which the martyrs an 
ticipated death, inquired the reason of their rejoicings. 
Tiburtius answered: "How is it possible that we would 
not rejoice, finding that we are about to pass from this 
miserable life to one of ineffable and never-ending felic 
ity ?" Maximus: " There is, then, another life after the 
present?" Tiburtius: "Most undoubtedly. Our souls 

1 86 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

are immortal; and after this life, which, although short, 
is so full of tribulation, there is another life prepared by 
God for those who serve him faithfully." Maximus, 
moved by these words, but more so by the grace of God, 
said: ",If things stand thus, I also will be a Christian." 

The execution of the sentence pronounced against the 
two saints was thus deferred to the following day; and 
Maximus was instructed and received baptism that same 
night, in the presence of St. Cecilia, who spoke most en 
couragingly of the glory of martyrdom. On the day 
following the two brothers were beheaded; and Maxi 
mus saw their souls, like two bright stars, surrounded by 
angels, entering into heaven; whereupon, weeping with 
joy, he exclaimed : " O ye blessed servants of the true 
God ! Who can comprehend your glory as I see it? As 
I also am a Christian, why can I not enjoy the same 
blessed lot ?" Almachius having heard that his officer 
had been converted, and that his conversion had been 
followed by that of many others, ordered him to be 
beaten with rods. This order was so cruelly executed, 
that the saint expired during the infliction. The relics 
of the two martyred brothers were first buried in a place 
four miles distant from Rome, but were translated to the 
church of St. Cecilia, in the year 821, by Pope Paschal I. 

St. Valerian and St. Tiburtius had left all their prop 
erty to St. Cecilia, who, foreseeing that her death was not 
far distant, sold all, and distributed the proceeds among 
the poor. Almachius discovered that she was a Christian, 
and had her arrested. Those who were leading her to 
prison wept to see a young lady of noble birth and ex 
traordinary beauty about to be condemned to death, and 
besought her to abjure Jesus Christ; but she on the other 
hand, weeping over their blindness, said: "Ye speak 
thus because you are ignorant of the happiness of dy 
ing for Jesus Christ. Know, then, that I desire nothing 
more ardently." Filled with holy zeal, she showed to 

CH. xxxvii.] St. Cecilia and her Companions. 187 

the crowd of pagans that surrounded her how happy is 
the lot of those who believe in the true God, and forego 
all worldly felicity in the hope of an eternal recompense. 
Having spoken for some time, she asked them if they 
believed what she said; and they answered: " Yes, we 
believe, and wish to become Christians." This dis 
course was followed by the conversion of four hundred 
persons, who were baptized by St. Urban, and the 
greater part of whom laid down their lives for Jesus 

The glorious conquest of the souls which she had 
made filled our saint with holy jubilee as she proceeded 
to prison. Upon being brought before Almachius, he 
was so enraptured with her beauty and her eloquence 
that he found himself inclined to dismiss her without 
any further punishment; but being informed that great 
numbers had been converted through her means, he en 
deavored to frighten her by threats of death, in case she 
refused to obey the edicts. St. Cecilia replied: "You, 
indeed, condemn us to death; but, instead of the wretched 
existence which we thus lose, our God gives us an ever 
lasting life of happiness. How, then, can you wonder 
that Christians have so little fear of death ? You adore 
a statue of stone formed by a sculptor s chisel, or an 
image made from a block that has grown in the forest. 
These are your gods ! But the Christians, on the con 
trary, adore one only God, the Creator of all things; and 
for so doing you condemn them to die ! And why ? Be 
cause, forsooth, they will not commit acts of impiety !" 
Almachius became infuriated at these words, and told 
her she should obey the emperor; the saint replied that 
she considered the obligation of obeying God much 
more stringent, The governor then remanded her to 

Fearing that the public execution of such a person 
might cause a sedition, he ordered that she should be 

1 88 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

shut up in an oven and suffocated. This, however, not 
having produced the desired effect, an executioner was 
sent to cut off her head. The law, in such case, per 
mitted only three strokes; these the executioner gave 
with all his might, but, failing in his attempt, left her 
still alive, although weltering in her blood. She prayed 
to the Lord that she might survive for three days, in 
order to strengthen in the faith those whom she had 
converted ; and during the entire of this period the 
house 1 was filled with these zealous neophytes, who be 
came thoroughly confirmed in their religion by the ex 
hortations of St. Cecilia. At the expiration of the three 
days she placidly rendered her soul to God, and went 
to receive the reward of so many heroic actions, on the 
22d November, in the year 232. 

St. Urban, who assisted at her death, had her body 
buried in the cemetery of Calixtus, and formed her house 
into a church, which he dedicated. 

1 There exists to the present day a tradition that St. Cecilia was 
confined, not in the common prison, but in her own house, perhaps out 
of respect to her rank. This is the more probable as she suffered under 
the Emperor Alexander Severus, who was very favorable to the Chris 
tians; for although, as Cardinal Orsi and Tillemont relate, several of 
them suffered martyrdom during his reign, this was owing to popular 
disturbance, or to the tyranny of the governors. It was thought neces 
sary to record the opinion, that the saint was imprisoned in her own 
dwelling; as, without the knowledge of this circumstance, several of 
the facts stated by our holy author might appear dubious. It is only 
by supposing this circumstance and her having amply satisfied the 
avarice of the guards, that we can imagine it possible for her to have 
summoned St. Urban from the catacombs, and to have held such as 
semblies in her prison. The oven or stove in which they attempted to 
suffocate the saint was that which warmed the domestic baths. ED. 

CH. xxxviii.] St. Agnes, Virgin. 189 



January 21. 

THE name of St. Agnes has obtained universal celeb 
rity. St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Maximus, Pru- 
dentius, and other illustrious writers 1 have been her 
panegyrists, and she is also mentioned in the canon of 
the Mass. 

She is said to have been descended of very noble and 
pious parents, and to have been but twelve or thirteen 
years of age at the time of her martyrdom. Her extra 
ordinary beauty caused her to be desired by many as their 
future spouse, but her principal suitor was Procopius, son 
of Symphronius, governor of Rome, who sent her a rich 
present, signifying that he was most anxious to be her 
husband. But the saint, who had dedicated her vir 
ginity and all her affections to Jesus Christ, answered 
him that she had been promised to another spouse. 
Procopius, nothing discouraged by this answer, contin 
ued his ineffectual importunities, until at last the saint, 
wishing to free herself forever from his unwelcome at 
tentions, said to him: Begone from me, thou food for 
death ! I am already engaged to another and a far better 

1 Among these, St. Jerome should not be forgotten, whose beautiful 
and concise eulogy of the saint was considered by Baron ius as her most 
appropriate panegyric : "By the writings and the tongues of all na 
tions, particularly in the churches, hath St. Agnes been praised, who 
overcame both the tenderness of her age and the cruelty of the tyrant 
and sanctified the honor of her chastity with the glory of martyrdom."- 
S. Hicr. Ef>. viii. 

i go Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

spouse. He is the King of Heaven, to whom I have con 
secrated my entire being." 

Procopius not knowing what to do, employed the as 
sistance of his father Symphronius, whose authority, he 
thought, might induce Agnes to comply. The governor 
accordingly summoned her to his presence, and told her 
he could not conceive why she should refuse the hand 
of his son, as it was impossible for her to obtain a more 
advantageous match. The saint replied, that she had a 
divine spouse, who was far preferable to his son. The 
governor being unable to conceive what she meant by a 
"divine spouse," one of the gentlemen in waiting said to 
him: "That young lady is a Christian, and the divine 
spouse to whom she refers is none other than the God 
of the Christians." Hereupon the governor, changing 
his tone, told her that she should abandon that sect and 
its maxims altogether, or else not only lose the good 
fortune which now presented itself, but be exposed to 
infamy and the most cruel torments. He concluded by 
giving her four-and-twenty hours to consider whether, 
under these circumstances, she would obstinately con 
tinue to be a Christian. Agnes boldly replied that she 
required no time for deliberation, as she was already re 
solved to have no other spouse than Jesus Christ, and 
that neither torments nor death could frighten her, as 
she was most anxious to lay down her life for him. 

The governor then thought to intimidate her by 
threatening to have her sent to an infamous place, to be 
there dishonored; but the saint replied: "My confidence 
is placed in Jesus Christ, my spouse, who is omnipotent 
he will defend me from all outrage." Enraged at 
this answer, Symphronius ordered her to be handcuffed, 
and dragged in chains before the idols, that she might 
offer incense; but on arriving at the place, she made the 
sign of the cross, declaring that her Crucified Spouse 
alone should be adored. She was then led, by force, to 

CH. xxxviii.] St. Agnes, Virgin. 191 

a house of prostitution; but if any approached her with 
an immodest intent, he became so overawed as not to be 
able to look at the saint. Only one rash young man, 
whom some suppose to have been Procopius, attempted 
to offer her any violence; but as Cardinal Orsi 1 here ob 
serves, the impure wretch soon experienced the jealousy 
with which the " Spouse of Virgins" defends them, for a 
flash of lightning struck him blind, and he fell as if dead 
upon the ground. While his companions were endeav 
oring to afford him some relief, and were already be 
wailing him as dead, the saint was requested to pray for 
him, and this she did; whereupon he instantly recov 
ered, and again received his sight. 

The governor, surprised at this miracle, was inclined 
to dismiss the holy virgin; but the idolatrous priests ex 
claimed that it was the effect of magic, and excited the 
people to demand that Agnes should be put to death as 
a witch. The governor, fearing a sedition if he should 
discharge her, and, on the other hand, being unwilling 
.to put her to death, left the judgment of the case to his 
lieutenant, Aspasius, who being obliged to it by the 
populace, condemned her to be burned alive. The fun 
eral pile was accordingly erected, the saint was placed 
upon it, and the fire enkindled; but the flames, respect 
ing her person, divided themselves on either side, and 
consumed many of the idolaters who were assisting at 
the execution. 

The priests and the people continued to cry out that 
it was the work of the devil, and obliged the lieutenant 
to send an executioner to behead her. The horror of 
such an execution caused even this minister of cruelty to 
turn pale, and, says St. Ambrose, 8 he trembled to give the 
stroke : but the saint animated him, saying: k Haste 
thee to destroy this my body, which could give pleasure 

1 fstor. cccl. 1. 9, n. 42. 8 Df Virginid. 1. i. 

192 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

to others, to the offending of my divine Spouse. Fear 
not to give me that death which shall be to me the com 
mencement of eternal life." Having raised her eyes to 
heaven, and besought Jesus Christ to receive her soul, 
this tender virgin received the stroke of death, and went 
to receive from her Saviour the palm of her triumph. 

As early as the time of Constantine the Great, a 
church was erected in honor of St. Agries ; and her fes 
tival is celebrated twice a year by the Church on the 
2ist January, in honor of her earthly triumph; and on 
the 28th of the same month, in commemoration of her 
heavenly reward. 1 

1 The martyrdom of St. Agnes took place, according to Ruinart, 
about the year 304. Her virginal body was religiously deposited in a 
place belonging to her parents. The following is what is contained in 
the Roman Breviary in her office of January 28: " One night when the 
parents of the blessed Agnes were watching at her grave, she appeared 
to them in company with a band of virgins, and said to them: Father 
and mother, weep not for me as though I were dead; for now these vir 
gins and 1 live together in Him whose love was my whole life upon 
earth. Some years afterwards, Constance, the daughter of the Em 
peror Constantine, being sick of an incurable ulcer, betook herself to 
the said grave, although she was not yet a Christian, and as she lay by 
it and slept, she seemed to hear the voice of Agnes, saying to her: 
Constance, be of good courage; believe in Jesus Christ the Son of 
God, and he will make thee whole. The princess, being healed, was 
baptized, along with many others of the emperor s family and house 
hold, and afterwards built over the grave of the blessed Agnes a church 
named in her honor." 

Alban Butler or Godescard adds: " This church gives title to a Car 
dinal. Every year, on the feast of St. Agnes, the abbot of St. Peter s ad 
Vincula blesses in it, at High Mass, two lambs, which are thence car 
ried to the Pope, by whom they are again blessed. After this they are 
sent to the nuns of St. Laurence s, in Panisperna, or sometimes to the 
Capucinesses, who make of the wool of these lambs palliums, which the 
Pope blesses and sends to the archbishops .and bishops who occupy 
privileged sees. These palliums are emblems of meekness and spotless 
purity. St. Augustine says that the name Agnes signifies lantl> in 
Latin, and chaste in Greek." 

Dom Gueranger, in his history of St. Cecilia, chapter 31, describes 

CH. xxxix.] St. Simeon of Seleucia. 193 



April 21. 

ECCLESIASTICAL history informs us that the faith of 
Jesus Christ was preached in Persia by the apostles 
themselves ; and the number of Christians in this king 
dom was consequently very considerable during the 
reign of Sapor, which was about the middle of the 
fourth century. 2 The Magians, or priests of the Persian 
religion, became alarmed at the spread of Christianity, 

the labors undertaken in ifx>5 to discover the relics of St. Agnes. They 
were found under the main altar in a marble tomb in which they had 
been resting for a thousand years, with the relics of St. Emerantiana, her 
foster-sister. The precious relics of these two virgins were at once 
enclosed in a silver reliquary presented by Pope Paul V. ED. 

1 He is also styled Bishop of Ctesiphon, a city built by the Parthi- 
ans, on the bank of the river Tigris, opposite to that upon which the 
ancient Seleucia, now Bagdad, stood. Some are of opinion that these 
ancient cities were separated only by the river, while others contend 
that they were three miles apart ; Fleury makes the distance thirty. 
This last opinion seems improbable, as bishoprics were formerly very 
small; and we frequently find Seleucia and Ctesiphon spoken of as one 
archbishopric. The first general council of Nice is said to have made 
it the Metropolitan Sec of Persia, during the episcopate of St. Simeon. 

* The father of Sapor died before the birlh of his son; and the Ma 
gians, that he might be born a king, performed the ceremony of his 
coronation upon the pregnant mother ; so that the wicked life and 
bloody reign of this vainglorious tyrant began together in the year 
310. But our author, in saying that the latter was about the middle of 
the fourth century, refers to that part of it which was rendered most re 
markable by his third, and most cruel, persecution of the Christians. 

1 9 4. Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

and, together with the Jews, induced Sapor to persecute 
the faithful. 

St. Simeon was, at that time, Archbishop of Seleucia, 
and his zealous solicitude for his flock caused him to be 
regarded as the principal defender of the Christian faith. 
In order to effect his ruin, his enemies represented to 
Sapor that he was in continual correspondence with the 
Roman emperor, to whom, they said, he revealed the 
most important concerns of the state. Sapor lent a will 
ing ear to these calumnies, and regarding Simeon as his 
enemy, resolved not only upon his death, but upon the 
total extermination of the Christians in his dominions. 
He began by confiscating their property ; and finding 
that they bore this with patience, he ordered that the 
clergy who would not abjure Jesus Christ should be be 
headed, and that all Christian churches should be lev 
elled with the ground. 

The holy bishop was arrested and brought before the 
tyrant; but, lest it should be thought that he was about 
to ask pardon for having preached the Christian relig 
ion, he did not comply with the Persian custom of pros 
tration, although he had frequently done so on former 
occasions. Sapor, enraged at this omission, asked him 
why he refused to render him the homage to which his 
rank entitled him. The saint answered: "When I, on 
former occasions, appeared in thy presence, I was not 
led to deny the true God, and therefore refused not to 
comply with the usual ceremonies; but now I cannot do 
so, as being called upon to defend my God and my re 
ligion." The king exhorted him to adore the sun, de 
claring that great riches and honors would be the re 
ward of his obedience; while his own death, and the 
extermination of the Christians, should inevitably be 
the consequence of his non-compliance. The saint, 
having given the most decided refusal, was sent to 

CH. xxxix] St. Simeon of Seleucia. 195 

prison in the hope that he would be thus induced to 
change his resolution. 

While St. Simeon was being led to prison, an aged 
eunuch, named Usthazades, who was the lord chamber 
lain, prostrated himself before him. But the holy prel 
ate, despising this mark of veneration, and turning his 
face from the eunuch, reprimanded him, because that, 
being a Christian, he had adored the sun. The apos 
tate wept bitterly at this rebuke, and throwing off his 
white robes, dressed himself in mourning. Thus clothed 
he sat at the palace gate, and, with many tears, fre 
quently exclaimed: "Wretch that I am ! If Simeon, my 
friend, treats me thus harshly for my fault, and turns 
away his face from me, what am I to expect from that 
God whom I have denied?" 

Sapor, being informed of the affliction of the eunuch, 
sent for him, and inquired whether any calamity had 
befallen him. The other replied: u Ah ! would to God 
that all calamities had befallen me, and not that which 
is the cause of my grief! I weep because I did not die 
long ago, but live to behold that sun, which, to please 
thee, I have adored. I deserve a double death one for 
having betrayed Jesus Christ, and another for having 
deceived thee." tie then protested, in the most solemn 
manner, that he would never, henceforward, deny his 
God. The king became infuriated at these words, and 
believing that the Christians had turned his head, swore 
that he would put them all to death ; entertaining, how 
ever, some compassion for the poor old man, he did all he 
could to gain him over. Usthazades, notwithstanding, 
continued to protest that he never again would be so 
fooi ish as to give to creatures the honor due to the Cre 
ator ; and Sapor, finding that his constancy was invinci 
ble, ordered him to be beheaded. 

While he was being led to execution, he told another 
eunuch, his friend, to request of Sapor, that, in consid- 

196 Martyrs of t fie First Ages. [PART i. 

eration of his past services, he would order him to be 
preceded by a crier, who would proclaim to the people 
that Usthazades had not been condemned for any crime, 
but merely for being a Christian, and having refused to 
abandon his God. 1 Sapor the more willingly acceded 
to his wish, as he was anxious to terrify the Christians 
by showing them that he would not tolerate the profes 
sion of their religion, even in an old man who had served 
him so faithfully. 

The king then turned his thoughts toward St. Simeon 
and again endeavored to gain him over; but seeing that 
all his arts were ineffectual, he commanded him to be be 
headed. As a last resource, however, he ordered the heads 
of one hundred Christians to be first struck off in presence 
of the saint, who, far from being intimidated, exhorted 
the sufferers to constancy, by telling them how glorious 
was their lot in acquiring the rewards of eternal life by 
dying for their Saviour. After the martyrdom of these 
hundred Christians the holy bishop was beheaded on 
Good Friday, and thus united his death to that of Jesus 

Together with the bishop were beheaded two vener 
able priests of his church, Ananias and Abdechalas. 
Pusicius, the prefect of the king s workmen, seeing that 
Ananias, in preparing to receive the stroke, was trem 
bling, exclaimed : " Father, shut thy eyes for one mo 
ment, and thou shalt instantly see the light of Christ." 
These words proclaimed Pusicius to be a Christian; he 
was accordingly arrested and brought before the king, 
whom he upbraided with his cruelty towards the Chris 
tians. Sapor, enraged at his freedom of speech, caused 
him to be put to death in a strange and most cruel man- 

1 The happy penitent was too much afflicted at his apostasy to be 
solicitous for his honor, and seems to have made this request in order 
that the real cause of his death, being made public, the scandal which 
he had given might be repaired. ED. 

CHAP. XL.I SS. Lucius and Montanus. 197 

ner his tongue was pulled out, not from his mouth, but 
through an incision made in his neck. His virgin 
daughter, who had consecrated herself to God, was also 
arrested and put to death. 

All these holy martyrs died about the year 344. Their 
martyrdom is related by Sozomen, 1 a contemporaneous 
author, who is cited by Ruinart. 



February 24. 

THE account of the martyrdom of these saints is ex 
tracted partly from a letter which they wrote, and partly 
from the testimony of an eye-witness ; they suffered in 
Africa, in the year 158, in the persecution of the Em 
peror Valerian. 

After the death of Galerius Maximus, Proconsul of 
Africa, the governor, who held the command until the 
appointment of his successor, gave an order for the ar 
rest of Lucius, Montanus, Flavian, Julian, Victoricus, 
Primolus, Rhenus, and Donatian : they were all Chris 
tians and disciples of St. Cyprian, but Primolus and 
Donatian were as yet catechumens. The letter written 
by these martyrs is long; the following is an extract: 
" As soon as we were arrested, we were given in custody 
to the officers of the quarter, and thence led to prison, 
by the horror and stench of which we were not dismayed, 
but rather rejoiced, as though we had entered heaven; 
we were here visited by many of our Christian brethren, 

1 ///.,. eft /. 1. 2, C. (j-II. 

1 98 Martyrs of the Fii st Ages. [PART i. 

who by their discourse made us forget the privations 
we had suffered. We were then brought before the gov 
ernor, who, without examining us, remanded us to pris 
on, where we suffered much from hunger and thirst, 
since a cup of cold water was denied even to the sick; 
but the Lord failed not to console us with heavenly 
nourishment in this tribulation." 

The martyrs were detained in prison many months, 
during which two of them died one shortly after his 
baptism, the other before he had received it, but after 
he had confessed Jesus Christ. In this persecution lay 
"persons were not condemned to death; and when the 
martyrs were again brought before the governor, the 
relatives and friends of Flavian, in order to save his life, 
protested that he was not a deacon, as he had declared 
himself to be ; he was therefore sent back to prison, but 
the others were condemned to die, and walked cheerfully 
to the place of execution. Lucius, being unwell, and 
fearing that he might be oppressed by the crowd, and 
so lose the honor of shedding his blood for Jesus Christ 
in company with the rest, requested to be led forward 
before the others. Some of the crowd said to him : 
" Lucius, remember us;" but he humbly replied: "Do 
you rather remember me." 

Montanus, just before his martyrdom, frequently re 
peated with a loud voice: " He that sacrificeth to any but 
the true God, shall be destroyed by the Lord." He also 
exhorted the heretics to return to the Church, telling 
them that the many martyrs who had laid down their 
lives in testimony of her was a sufficient proof of the 
truth of her doctrines. He besought sinners to return 
to God by repentance, and exhorted all to constancy in 
the faith, and a strict observance of the divine com 
mandments. Before receiving the stroke of death, he 
raised his hands to heaven, and prayed that Flavian 
might follow him after three days; and, as if certain of 

CHAP. XLJ SS. Lucius and Montanus. 199 

being heard, he tore the kerchief with which his eyes 
were to be bound in two parts, and desiring them to 
keep one half for Flavian, he terminated his martyrdom. 

Meanwhile Flavian, in prison, lamented that he had 
been separated from those who had the happiness to lay 
down their lives for Jesus Christ; but he endeavored to 
console himself and his mother, who also grieved at this 
disappointment, by adverting to the necessity of con 
formity to the will of God. He felt great confidence in 
the prayer of Montanus, whose presentiment was ful 
filled; for, on the third day, he was again summoned to 
the presence of the governor. Those who were conduct 
ing him said it was a folly to prefer death to life, and 
exhorted him to sacrifice to the gods; but he replied that, 
although there were no obligation of worshipping the 
God who created us, nor rewards promised to our fidel 
ity, it nevertheless would be unworthy human reason to 
adore gods of wood and stone. The governor asked 
him why he had said he was a deacon, when such was 
not the case. The saint answered, that he had confessed 
the truth; and the people, who wished to save him by 
this means, demanded that he should be tortured till he 
would confess the fact; the governor, however, con 
demned him to death. 

While he was being led to the place of execution, there 
fell a great deal of rain, and the martyr was led into a 
house, where he had an opportunity to speak with the 
Christians who followed him. Having arrived at the 
scene of his martyrdom, he spoke to the faithful on the 
necessity of brotherly love, and having finished his dis 
course, he bound his eyes with that half of the kerchief 
.which had been left him by Montanus, and kneeling 
down in prayer, received the stroke which consummated 
his martyrdom. 

2oo Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 



April 22. 

BOTH these saints were of noble family. Epipodius 
was a native of Lyons, and Alexander a Grecian by 
birth. From their first studies together in the same 
school, they contracted the strictest friendship, which 
was strengthened and increased by the mutual practice 
of those Christian virtues in which they had been reared 
by their parents. These two saints were in the flower of 
their age, and both unmarried, when the persecution of 
Marcus Aurelius was raging, particularly at Lyons, where 
the slaughter of the faithful was so great, that the pagans 
thought they had succeeded in extinguishing the 
Christian religion there. 

Epipodius and Alexander were betrayed by a servant, 
and denounced as Christians to the governor, who or 
dered them to be arrested. Having heard of this order, 
they fled from the city, in compliance with the Gospel 
counsel, and having taken refuge in the cottage of a poor 
Christian widow, remained concealed there for some 
time. They were, however, discovered, and most unex 
pectedly arrested, and after three days brought before 
the governor, to whom they acknowledged that they 
were Christians. The pagans loudly demanded their 
death, whereupon the governor said: "Then the temer 
ity of the Christians in despising the gods and the edicts 
of the emperor still continues. We have put to death 
numbers of these rash people, leaving their bodies un- 
buried, and still there are found some to speak of Christ! 
What audacity is this of yours to profess a religion for- 

CHAP, x LI.] SS. Epipodius and Alexander. 201 

bidden by the emperor? But you shall shortly pay the 

He sent Alexander to prison, and commenced tamper 
ing with Epipodius, who, he thought, might be more 
easily perverted, as he was the younger of the two; he 
first spoke to him with kindness, saying: "It is a pity 
that thou, who art a young man, shouldst be anxious to 
perish, through perseverance in the religion of this false 
sect. We adore the gods, who are adored by all the people 
and their rulers, and the worship which we render them 
allows us to lead a life of pleasure. But ye, Christians, 
adore a crucified man, who loves to see his followers af 
flicted with penance, and debarred from every enjoy 
ment. What benefits can he bestow on his followers, 
who could not save himself from the death to which the 
Jews condemned him? Abandon, my son, this sect, and 
enjoy the pleasures which are permitted to us." 

Epipodius answered : u The pity which thou dost 
manifest in my regard is in reality a cruelty ; since, to 
live as pagans live, is productive of eternal death ; while, 
on the contrary, to die for Jesus Christ is the greatest 
of all blessings. Thou knowest that Christ hath died 
upon a cross, but knowest not that he hath risen again, 
being both God and man, and that he hath thus opened 
to his followers the gates of eternal life, to lead them 
thither from this short and miserable existence, that 
they may reign with him in heaven everlastingly. 
Thou understandest not the truth of the* Christian faith, 
but mayest well understand that the pleasures of the 
body cannot satisfy souls that have been created by 
God for an immortality. We deny to our bodies the 
pleasures of this life to save the soul eternally. Thou 
believest that existence terminates with this life ; while 
we, on the contrary, are assured that the termination of 
this present miserable existence is only the beginning 
of a happy state of being that knows no end." 

2O2 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

The governor, although somewhat moved by this dis 
course, gave way to the impulse of anger, and ordered 
the executioners to strike the saint upon the mouth; 
but the saint, bleeding from the blows, courageously 
said : " I confess that Christ, together with the Father 
and the Holy Ghost, is the true and only God ; and it 
is but reasonable that I should resign my soul to him 
who has created and redeemed me. I do not thereby 
lose my life, but change it for a better one. It matters 
little in what manner my body may be destroyed, so 
that my soul return to him that gave it." 

The governor ordered him to be stretched upon the 
rack, and two executioners to tear his sides with iron 
hooks. The people tumultuously exclaimed that the 
saint should be delivered up to them, that they might 
stone him ; and the governor, fearing that his authority 
might be set at nought by their seizing on the prisoner, 
ordered his head to be immediately struck off, and the 
holy youth thus hastened to the enjoyment of the 

Upon the death of St. Epipodius, the governor sum 
moned his companion, Alexander, before him, and said : 
* It is yet in thy power to avoid the death to which 
others have been consigned. I imagine that thou art 
the only Christian remaining ; if, therefore, thou art de 
sirous to save thy life, thou must honor and sacrifice to 
our gods." Alexander, encouraged by the martyrdom 
of his companion, answered : " I thank my God that 
the mention of the deaths of my brethren only confirms 
my desire of imitating their example. Dost thou im 
agine that their souls have died with their bodies? No ; 
they have gone to the enjoyment of heaven. Thou art 
deceived, thinking that thou canst extinguish the Chris 
tian faith, which hath been so established by God, that 
it is propagated by the death of the faithful. Those 
whom thou believest to have killed are now in the en- 

CHAP. XLI.] SS. Epipodius and Alexander. 203 

joyment of heaven, which they shall continue to enjoy 
for all eternity ; while, on the contrary, thou and the 
objects of thy adoration shall be cast into the fire of 
hell to suffer for all eternity. I am a Christian, like my 
brother Epipodius, who is now reigning in heaven. 
Do therefore, to my body as it pleaseth thee ; for my 
soul shall be received by that God who created it." 

The governor, infuriated at these words, ordered 
three executioners to scourge the saint most cruelly, 
while he, imploring the divine assistance, continued to 
suffer with fortitude. The governor, perceiving that 
this protracted butchery of the saint s body made no 
impression upon his constancy, asked him if he would 
still continue obstinate. Alexander answered : " I shall 
never change my resolution, because it is in the keeping 
of a God who is omnipotent, unlike thy gods, who are 

The governor said : " The Christians are so mad as 
to believe that they can acquire glory by sufferings. 
This man, therefore, shall be punished as he deserves." 
He then ordered the saint to be crucified ; but his body 
had been so lacerated, that his entrails were visible, 
and he was but a short time fastened to the cross when 
he consummated his martyrdom, and went to receive 
the reward of so much suffering. 

The triumph of these two saints is believed to have 
taken place in the month of April, in the year 178. The 
Christians privately carried off their bodies, and buried 
them upon a little hill, which afterwards became cele 
brated ; as many miraculous cures were there wrought 
during the pestilence which afflicted the city of Lyons, 
shortly after the death of these saints. The author of 
their acts attests these miracles ; they are related by 
Ruinart. 1 

1 Alban Butler adds that St. Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons, wrote the 
panegyric of these saints, in which he says that the dust of their tomb 

204 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 


S T. L E O OF P A T A R A. 

February 18. 

AT Patara, in Lycia, a great festival was once being 
celebrated in honor of a certain idol, at which a great 
concourse assembled ; some having gone willingly, and 
many through fear, as an edict had been published to 
that effect. But St. Leo, who was a good Christian, de 
parted from the city, and went to perform his devotions 
before the relics of St. Paregorius, who had died for the 
faith some short time previously. Upon his return home, 
St. Paregorius appeared to him in a vision, standing at 
the opposite side of a torrent, and inviting him to pass 

St. Leo hence conceived a great hope that he would 
be honored with martyrdom ; and going, some days 
after, to make a second visit to the tomb of St. Pare 
gorius, he passed by the temple of Fortune, where many 
lanterns burned before the idol. Impelled by a special 
impulse of the Holy Ghost, he entered the temple and 
threw down the lights ; but the idolaters, enraged at 
the insult offered to their idol, raised such a clamor, 
that the governor heard of the affair, and ordered that 
the saint should be brought before him. 

was distributed over the whole country for the benefit of the sick. The 
virtue of this dust is also attested by St. Gregory of Tours. He says 
that their bodies in the sixth century lay deposited with the body of St. 
Irenaeus, under the altar of the Church of St. John, that at present bears 
the name of St. Irenaeus. The relics of St. Epipodius and St. Alexan 
der were discovered and solemnly translated in 1410. ED. 

CHAP. XLII.] St. Leo of Pat ar a. 205 

When Leo made his appearance, the governor rebuked 
him for the outrage he had committed against the gods, 
in violation of the commands of the sovereign ; but the 
saint, animated with holy zeal, replied : "Thou speak- 
est to me of the gods, as if there were many : there is 
but one God, and Jesus Christ is his only begotten Son. 
Since statues of stone and wood are devoid of sense 
and feeling, of what use can lanterns be to them ? If 
thou hadst the knowledge of the true God, them wouldst 
not worship these false deities. Oh, do abandon this 
vain superstition, and adore our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ !" 

The governor said : " Thou dost then exhort me to 
become a Christian ? Better it were for thee to conform 
to the general practice, lest thy rashness be punished 
as it deserves." The saint with increased ardor re 
plied : "I see about me a multitude of those who, 
blindly persevering in error, despise the true God ; but 
I am a Christian notwithstanding, and follow the in- 
.structions of the apostles. If this deserve chastisement, 
award it ; for I am determined to suffer every torture, 
rather than become the slave of the devil. Others may 
do as they please, since they are solicitous merely for 
the present, and are reckless of the future life, which is 
to be obtained only by sufferings. The Scripture tells 
us that narrow is the way which Icadeth to life." 

The governor observed : " Since, then, the way of the 
Christians is narrow; exchange it for ours, which is wide 
and commodious." Leo answered : " I have said that 
the way is narrow, because it is one of affliction, and of 
persecutions suffered for justice sake ; but it is wide 
enough for those who walk therein, because their faith, 
and the hope of an eternal reward, make it so to them. 
The love of virtue maketh that easy which to thee seem- 

1 Mut I. vii. 14. 

so6 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PAKT i 

eth difficult. On the contrary, the road of vice is in 
reality narrow, and leads to an eternal precipice." 

This discourse was most unpalatable to the pagans, 
who accordingly exclaimed that the impious man, who 
had spoken against their religion, should be silenced. 
The governor then asked St. Leo whether he would 
sacrifice ; and being answered that his compliance was 
totally impossible, he ordered him to be scourged. Al 
though this command was most cruelly executed, the 
saint suffered without a groan ; whereupon the governor 
threatened still greater torments, but the saint answered: 
" I know not these gods, and will never sacrifice to 
them." " At least," said the governor, " say that our 
gods are great, and I will dismiss thee, for I have com 
passion upon thy old age." The saint replied : "They 
are great for the destruction of those souls that believe 
in them." The governor, infuriated at this reply, said : 
"I will order thee to be dragged over stones till thou 
art torn to pieces." The saint replied: "I shall wel 
come any kind of death that procures me the kingdom 
of heaven, and that blessed life which I shall enjoy in 
company with the saints, upon my departure from this 

The tyrant continued to importune him to sacrifice, 
or at least to acknowledge that the gods could save him 
from death. The saint replied: "Thou art very weak, 
since thou dost nothing but threaten, without putting 
thy threats into execution." The populace, being en 
raged at this reply, obliged the judge to condemn the 
saint to be tied by the feet and dragged through a 

St. Leo finding himself about to obtain the accom 
plishment of his desire to die for Jesus Christ, raised his 
eyes to heaven, and prayed after the following manner : 
" I thank Thee, O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, for granting me the grace to follow Thy servant 

CH. xLiii] ,5V. Basil of Ancyra, Priest. 207 

Paregorius. I praise Thee, because Thou hast enabled 
me, by martyrdom, to cancel my past sins. I commend 
my soul to the care of Thy holy angels, that it may be 
saved from the perdition prepared for the wicked. I 
beseech Thee, by that which it is my blessed lot to 
suffer, to have mercy on those who are the cause thereof ; 
and since Thou desirest not the death of the sinner, 
grant them the grace to recognize Thee as the Lord of 
the universe. May all that which I suffer in the name 
of Jesus Christ thy Son redound to Thy glory forever 
and ever. Amen." As soon as he pronounced the word 
Amen, he rendered up his soul to God, and went to en 
joy the crown to which St. Paregorius had invited him. 
The executioners cast the body into a deep pit, in 
order to break it to pieces ; but it was taken thence and 
found entire, with only a few slight bruises, and the face 
appeared comely and smiling. 1 



March 22. 

ST. BASIL was a priest of Ancyra, in Galatia, who dur 
ing the reign of Constantius bravely defended the divin 
ity of the Son of God against the Arians, and converted 
many from that heresy. Upon the death of Constantius, 
Julian the Apostate succeeded to the empire, and used 

1 The names of St. Paregorius and St. Leo, martyred at Patara, 
are not found in the Roman martyrology; but the Bollandists and Rui- 
nart give their acts as trustworthy, and the Greeks celebrate their feast 
on February 18. As for the time of their martyrdom, it is unknown; 
several think that it took place in the third century. Kn. 

208 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

all his energies for the re-establishment of idolatry, 
which at this time had been almost annihilated. St. 
Basil, on the other hand, struggled with all his might 
against this impious project, and ran through the entire 
city of Ancyra, exhorting the Christians to preserve 
themselves from apostasy, and to despise the promises 
of Julian, whom, he said, God would quickly remove. 
By this conduct he brought upon himself the hatred of 
the idolaters, who united with the Arians in persecuting 
him; but the saint was not to be deterred from defend 
ing the faith of Jesus Christ. 

One day while some of the Gentiles were sacrificing 
to the gods, he prayed aloud that the Lord might con 
found them, in order that no Christians should be 
seduced by their example. The idolaters, upon hearing 
this prayer, became infuriated, and one of them, named 
Macarius, laying violent hands upon him, said: "Who 
art thou that darest to disturb the people, and to preach 
against the worship of the gods ?" Basil replied: " Not 
I, but the God of Heaven, with his invincible power, 
will destroy your false religion." The heathens, more 
infuriated than ever, dragged him before Saturninus, 
the governor of the province, saying: "This man has 
been guilty of sedition, and threatens to overturn the 
altars of the gods." 

Saturninus, turning to him, said: "Who art thou that 
showest so much rashness ?" Basil answered: " I am a 
Christian, and glory in being so." "If then thou art a 
Christian," said Saturninus, " why dost thou not act 
like a Christian ?" Basil: "Thou art right ; a Christian 
ought to appear so in all his actions." Saturninus : 
" Why hast thou raised the people and blasphemed the 
emperor as the follower of a false religion ?" Basil : " I 
blaspheme not the emperor nor his religion ; but I say 
that in heaven there is a Ruler whom the Christians 
adore as the only true God, and who can in one mo- 

cH.xLin.j St. Basil of Ancyra, Priest. 209 

ment destroy your false worship." Saturninus : " What 
canst thou say against the religion of the emperor?" 
Basil was about to reply, but Saturninus interrupted 
him, saying: All reply is useless ; thou must obey the 
emperor." Basil : "I never yet have failed to obey the 
Emperor of Heaven." Saturninus : "Who is this Em 
peror of Heaven ?" Basil : " He that dvvelleth in 
heaven and beholdeth all things ; while your emperor 
commands only upon earth, and is a man like the rest, 
who is shortly about to fall into the hands of the Great 

The governor, irritated at this answer, ordered that 
the saint should be suspended, and torn with iron hooks; 
but while Basil was returning thanks to God, he asked 
him whether he would sacrifice. The saint replied : " I 
have placed all my confidence in the King of kings ; nor 
is it in the power of man to change me." The tyrant, 
perceiving tliat the executioners had fatigued them 
selves, sent him to prison ; and one Felix, a bad Christian, 
who met him by the way, advised him to obey the em 
peror, but our saint answered: "Depart from me, O 
impious wretch ! enveloped as thou art in the darkness 
of sin, how canst thou see the light ?" 

The Emperor Julian was at this time at Pessinunte, 
celebrating the festival of the goddess Cybele, who was 
said to be the mother of the gods. Here Saturninus in 
formed him of what had taken place regarding Basil. 
The apostate hearing that he possessed great influence, 
sent two other apostates, Elpidius and Pegasus, to gain 
him over. When the latter went to the prison to speak 
to him, the saint said : " Traitor ! why hast thou re 
nounced Jesus Christ and thy hopes of salvation ? 
After having been cleansed in the waters of baptism, 
how couldst thou stain thyself with idolatry ? 
after having been fed with the flesh of Jesus Christ, how 
canst thou sit at a feast of demons ? Thou wert the 

2 io Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

disciple of truth, and art now become a master of per 
dition, to the eternal loss of thy own soul. What wilt 
thou do when the Lord shall come to judge thee ?" Then 
raising his eyes to heaven, he exclaimed : "Vouchsafe, 
O Lord, to deliver me from the snares of the devil." 
Pegasus, covered with confusion, related the affair to 
Elpidius and they both proceeded to inform the gov 
ernor, who again caused Basil to be put to torture. 
When the saint was placed upon the rack, he said : 
" Impious tyrant, thou mayst exercise all thy cruelty, 
but so long as Jesus Christ is with me, I never will 

The emperor, having arrived at Ancyra, summoned 
the martyr before him, and inquired his name. The 
saint replied: " I am a Christian. This is my principal 
name; but I am generally called Basil. Now, if I shall 
have preserved the name of a Christian without blemish, 
Jesus Christ will reward me, on the day of judgment, 
with an eternal glory." Julian: " Do not thus miserably 
deceive thyself, continuing to believe in him that was 
put to death under Pontius Pilate." Basil: " No. em 
peror; I am not deceived, but thou hast deceived thy 
self, who by thy apostasy hast forfeited thy right to 
heaven. I continue to believe in Jesus Christ, whom 
thou hast renounced, although he placed thee upon a 
throne; he will, however, quickly hurl thee thence, that 
thou mayest know the power of the God whom thou 
hast despised." Julian: "Madman, thou art raving; it 
shall not befall me as thou wouldst." Basil: "Thou hast 
forgotten Jesus Christ, and he shall never again remem 
ber thee in his mercy. He that is the Emperor of all 
shall despoil thee of the authority thou hast, and cause 
thee to expire in agony; nor shall thy body find burial." 
This prediction was shortly afterwards fulfilled. 

Julian, infuriated at the martyr s speech, said: " I had 
designed to discharge thee unmolested; but, since thy 

CH. XLIII.] St. Basil of Ancyra, Priest. 211 

temerity hath gone so far as to reproach me, I now com 
mand that there be torn, every day, from off thy body, 
seven pieces of flesh." This barbarous command was 
quickly put into execution by the Count Frumentinus, 
to whom the charge was given. Our saint endured it 
with great fortitude; and, when he had been entirely 
lacerated, he desired to speak with the emperor. The 
count, believing that he was induced by the torture to 
sacrifice to the gods, made known his desire to Julian, 
who commanded him to be brought to the temple of Es- 
culapius. Upon being presented to the emperor in the 
temple, the saint said: " Where, sir, are the persons who 
are wont to accompany thee ? Have they not foretold to 
thee the motive of this my visit ?" Julian: " I suppose 
thou hast returned to thy senses, and art willing to adore 
the majesty of the gods." Basil: " Not so; I have come 
to make thee know that thy gods are but blind and deaf 
statues, the worshipping of which is punished in hell." 
Then taking a piece of his torn flesh, he cast it in the 
emperor s face, saying: " Take this, O Julian, since such 
food pleaseth thee. To me death is a gain, and Jesus is 
my life and my strength; in him I believe, and for his 
sake I am willing to suffer." 

The Christians looked with satisfaction upon the con 
stancy of Basil, and the glorious testimony he had given 
to the faith; but equal to their joy was the fury of Fru 
mentinus at his disappointment. He therefore ordered 
the executioners to tear the saint with irons, until his 
bones and bowels should be laid bare. During the in 
fliction of this sentence the holy martyr prayed thus: 
Be Thou forever blessed, () Lord, who giveth strength 
unto the weak that put their trust in Thee. Mercifully 
vouchsafe to look upon me, and grant me the grace 
faithfully to consummate my sacrifice, that I may be 
made worthy of thy eternal kingdom." 

On the following day the emperor departed from An 

2 1 2 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PAR r i. 

cyra without granting an audience to Frumentinus, who, 
having summoned Basil before him, exclaimed: "O! 
thou most rash and obdurate of mortals! wilt thou at 
last yield to the emperor, or terminate thy days amid 
the most excruciating torture?" Basil replied: "Dost 
thou not recollect to what state thou didst reduce my 
body yesterday, when its mangled appearance drew tears 
from all who beheld it? Now it hath pleased Jesus 
Christ lo heal me, as thou seest. Make this known to 
thy emperor, in order that he may understand the power 
of that God whom he hath abandoned to become the 
slave of the devil; but God also will abandon him, and 
he shall die in his sins." Frumentinus replied: "Thou 
art mad; but if thou wilt not sacrifice, I shall cause thy 
entire body to be pierced with red-hot spikes." The 
saint answered: "I have not been afraid, as thou know- 
est, of the threats of the emperor; think now whether 
thy words can strike me with terror." 

Although Frumentinus was aware that the constancy 
of Basil was not to be overcome, he nevertheless caused 
the irons to be heated, and the saint s shoulders to be 
pierced through. During this most agonizing torture, 
the saint prayed thus: "I thank Thee, O Lord, my God, 
who hast delivered my soul from hell. Preserve Thy 
blessed spirit within me, in order that, having overcome 
these torments, I may offer to Thee the sacrifice of my 
life, and become an heir to everlasting bliss, through the 
promises of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whose merits I 
beseech Thee to receive my soul in peace, since I have 
continued to the end to confess Thy name, who livest and 
reignest, world without end. Amen." Having finished 
this prayer, the saint, as though falling into a sweet 
sleep, in the midst of his tortures placidly rendered his 
soul to God, on the 28th of June, in the year 362. The 
Acts of his mirtyrdom are found in Ruinart, 

CH. XLIV.] St. Pot kinus and Companions. 213 



June 2. 

WHILE the Emperor Marcus Aurelius was carrying on 
the war against the Quadi and other German tribes, he 
was on one occasion very much terrified at the proba 
bility of his entire army perishing from thirst. But the 
Christian soldiers who were scattered among the ranks, 
having fervently prayed for rain, it descended in such 
quantities as to enable all the troops to slake their 
thirst. The enemy was at this time attacking the Ro- 
mans with great advantage, when thunderbolts and 
heavy hail disconcerted their ranks, and obliged them 
to fly. The emperor, justly attributing this miracle to 
the power of the God of the Christians, prohibited, in 
the year 174, under pain of death, that any one should 
accuse them for their religion. After three years, how 
ever, by popular commotion, the idolaters raised a per 
secution against the Christians, which raged most 
furiously at Lyons and Vienne, and the adjacent towns. 

But the more the faithful were persecuted, the more 
they experienced the protection of the Almighty, who 
strengthened them to suffer with heroic patience the 
maltreatment they received from the populace or the 
magistrates. Several were arrested and brought before 
the president, who treated them with such cruelty, that 
a young nobleman, named Vettius Epagathus, fired 
with the Spirit of God, exclaimed that the Christians 

214 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

had been guilty of no crime, and that they were, there 
fore, most unjustly punished. The president asked 
him who he was. Vettius replied : " I am a Christian." 
The president then ordered that all the Christians in 
Lyons and Vienne should be imprisoned. Some per 
sons came forward to accuse the Christians of having 
committed the most execrable impurities in their assem 
blies, and also having eaten children there. Hereupon 
the magistrates prepared the most atrocious torments, 
in order to oblige the faithful to confess these crimes, 
and to abandon the faith of Jesus Christ. 

Among others, they put to torture a certain deacon 
named Sanctus, who, being asked his name and the 
place of his birth, would give no other answer than " I 
am a Christian." They applied red-hot plates of brass 
to the tenderest parts of his body ; but, although from 
his head to his feet he might be said to be one wound, 
he was so strengthened by divine grace as to remain 
constant in the profession of his faith. When he be 
came quite shrivelled and stooped by reason of his tor 
ments, they sent him back to prison ; and when, a few 
days afterwards, they brought him out to renew his tor 
tures, they found that the second became the remedy of 
the first affliction, for the saint had perfectly recovered. 

In this persecution, many unhappily renounced Jesus 
Christ, amongst whom was a woman named Biblis ; she 
was, notwithstanding her apostasy, put to the torture, 
in order to make her confess the crimes with which the 
Christians had been charged. But her sufferings oper 
ated upon her in a .very different manner : she began to 
reflect how insupportable must be the torments of hell, 
which she should suffer, were she to die in her sin. In 
stead, therefore of accusing the Christians, she ex 
claimed : " How is it possible that those who abstain 
even from the blood of animals could be induced to 
feed upon their own children?" Biblis then protested 

CH. XLIV.] 6V. Pothinus and Companions. 2 i 5 

that she was a Christian, and wished to die for her 
faith ; and was thus ranked among the martyrs. 

At this time St. Pothinus, Bishop of Lyons, was ninety 
years of age, and so very weak that he could scarcely 
draw his breath ; but proportionate to his weakness was 
his desire to lay down his life for Jesus Christ, and to 
mingle his blood with that of his flock, which was being 
spilt. When the soldiers carried him before the presi 
dent, and he had been asked, who was the God of 
Christians, the holy prelate replied: "When thou art 
worthy, thou shalt know him." The idolaters no sooner 
heard this answer than they set upon the aged bishop 
like a set of wild beasts, and so inhumanly maltreated 
him with kicks and blows, that, being led to prison, he 
expired after two days. 

The prisons were filled with Christians, who were 
tortured in every possible way ; and it was easy to 
distinguish those who had prepared themselves for 
the great struggle by a life of sanctity and mortifica 
tion, from those whose faith became weak by reason of 
their tepid and effeminate lives. The former were con 
stant in confessing the name of Jesus Christ, and ap 
peared joyous and confident ; but the others basely 
abandoned their faith, and, stung with remorse, appeared 
sorrowful and confused, while they were despised by 
the very Pagans themselves. Many of these good 
Christians died in prison, being overcome by the damp 
and loathsomeness of the place, as well as hunger and 
the other sufferings, 

Others were reserved by God to expire publicly amid 
tortures. Among the latter were Maturus, and Sanctus 
the deacon, who, besides the torments which they had 
already endured, were, at the request of the populace, 
placed sitting in a red-hot iron chair a cruelty that 
one would think could be invented only by demons. 
The noisome smell which proceeded from their burning 

216 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

flesh, became offensive to their persecutors, who, accord 
ingly, cut their throats ; thus did these two saints ob 
tain the victory of their prolonged martyrdom. 

The multitude next called for the death of Attains of 
Pergamus, who was known by all to be a zealous Chris 
tian ; but the governor, hearing that he was a Roman 
citizen, remanded him to prison, until a decision should 
arrive from the emperor. At that time there was also 
at Lyons a certain Christian named Alexander, a phy 
sician by profession, and a native of Phrygia, who, 
being near the governor during the interrogation of 
some Christians, made signs to them with his head and 
his eyes to exhort them to remain steadfast in the faith. 
The pagans accused him of this, and the governor, 
hearing from himself that he was a Christian, sent him 
also to prison. On the following day he was brought 
out, together with Attains ; they were worried by wild 
beasts, and finally despatched by the swords of the exe 

The scene of blood w r as terminated by the martyrdom 
of St. Blandina, whose glorious triumph is worthy of 
special commemoration. She was a slave, and a very 
tender virgin, of such a delicate constitution, that her 
mistress, who was an excellent Christian lady, enter 
tained very great fears that she would be imequal to the 
tortures, and deny the faith ; but no one could evince 
more courage than Blandina, or greater patience in en 
during the various tortures by which her constancy was 
tried. The executioners employed an entire day in tor 
menting her, relieving one another at intervals ; and 
they were astonished to find that a young, a delicate, 
and sickly creature could survive so many tortures. 
She was first scourged, next torn with iron hooks until 
her entrails appeared, and then placed in a red-hot iron 
chair ; yet did she make no complaint, and was only 
heard to say : " I am a Christian, and among Christians 

CHAP. XLV] St. A /ban. 217 

the name of sin is unknown." She was afterwards 
wrapped in a net and exposed to a wild bull, who tossed 
her in the air for a considerable time. At last the sainted 
heroine had her throat cut, and thus consummated her 
sacrifice, while the pagans themselves confessed that no 
woman had ever been known to endure so horrid tor 
tures with so much constancy. 

The bodies of all these martyrs were burned, and the 
ashes thrown into the river Rhone. Their acts were 
written by some of the faithful of the Churches of Lyons 
and Vienne, who were witnesses of their triumph, and 
perhaps the companions of some of their sufferings. 
The strength evinced by these martyrs, in enduring 
these cruel and most bitter tortures with so much con 
stancy, proves to us that the souls who really love Jesus 
Christ, and are dedicated to his service, can easily over 
come, by the assistance of his grace, whatever tribula 
tions we are doomed to suffer in this life. 



June 22. 

ST. ALBAN was an Englishman, and a pagan by birth. 
During the persecution of Diocletian, he fortunately re 
ceived into his house a holy ecclesiastic, who was flying 
from the persecutors. Alban was greatly edified by the 
saintly life of his guest, who was almost continually 
employed in prayer, was exceedingly parsimonious in 
the use of food, and was remarkable for his humility 
and blandness of manners. Knowing him to be a Chris 
tian, our saint begged to be instructed in the religion ; 
and the clergyman so forcibly showed him the extrava 
gances of idolatry, and the truth of the doctrines of 

218 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

Jesus Christ, that Alban, illumined by divine grace, em 
braced the Christian faith. 

It was discovered after some time that the ecclesiastic, 
after whom search was being made, lay concealed in 
Alban s house, whereupon the governor sent a party of 
soldiers to seize him ; but Alban, upon their approach, 
put on the habit of the clergyman, and enabled him to 
effect his escape. Our saint was accordingly arrested 
and brought before the governor, who was engaged, at 
the time, in offering sacrifice to his gods. Seeing Alban, 
with whom he had been acquainted, in that strange 
dress, and judging that he had become a Christian, he 
threatened that if the saint would not abandon the 
faith, he would cause him to suffer all the torments that 
had been prepared for him whose habit he had assumed. 
The saint replied that he never would abandon that 
faith which he had fortunately discovered to be the only 
true one. The governor then caused him to be cruelly 
scourged ; but Alban suffered this torture, and many 
others that followed it, with such joy, that the governor, 
despairing of being able to change his resolve, con 
demned him to be beheaded. 

The saint proceeded to the place of execution, as 
though it were to a banquet; but having arrived at the 
bank of the river, which should be crossed in order to 
reach the destined place, such a multitude had assem 
bled, that it was considered impossible to pass the 
bridge before evening. Hereupon the saint, anxious to 
give his life for Jesus Christ, prayed to the Lord, and 
the waters, dividing themselves on either side, left a dry 
passage to the opposite bank. At the sight of this mir 
acle the executioner was converted, and happily obtained 
the crown of martyrdom, together with St. Alban. 1 

1 Later on a magnificent church was at first erected in this place that 
became famous for its great number of miracles; there a very cele 
brated monastery was built, and finally a city under the name of St 
Alban, between Birmingham and London. ED. 

CH.XLVII.] St. Cyril, t lie Child. 219 



May 15. 

DURING the persecution of Decius, at Lampsacus, a 
city near the Hellespont, a young man named Peter was 
brought before the proconsul, and having confessed him 
self a Christian, was commanded to sacrifice to the great 
goddess, Venus. Peter replied: "I wonder much how 
thou canst expect me to sacrifice to a woman, whose 
shameful impurities it were immodest even to mention. 
Sacrifice should be offered to the true God alone." At 
this answer the tyrant caused him to be bound to a 
wheel, that, revolving, by certain pieces of wood appro 
priately placed, caused a complete and gradual fracture 
of his bones. After this torture, the saint, raising his 
eyes to heaven, exclaimed: "I thank Thee, my Jesus, 
because that Thou niakest me worthy to suffer for Thy 
sake." The proconsul, perceiving his constancy, com 
manded him to be beheaded. 1 


May 29. 

ST. CYRIL was born at Caesarea, and, while yet a child 
became a Christian, in consequence of which he was 

1 Dom Ruinart gives the Acts of this martyr with those of Saints 
Andrew, Paul, and Dionysia, or Denysa, whose triumph has beer, al 
icady related at page 116. En. 

22O Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

maltreated, and finally turned out of doors by his idol 
atrous father. Information to this effect having been 
given to the judge, he caused Cyril to be brought before 
him; and, being told that the child frequently invoked 
the name of Jesus, he promised him that he would effect 
a reconciliation with his father, on condition that he 
would never more pronounce that name. The holy 
child replied: "I am content to be turned out of my 
father s house, because I shall receive a more spacious 
mansion in heaven; nor do I fear death, because by it 
I shall acquire a better life." The judge, in order to 
frighten him, caused him to be bound and led, as it 
were, to the death, but gave private orders to the execu 
tioner not to injure him. He was accordingly brought 
before a great fire, and threatened to be thrown in; but, 
being most willing to lay down his life, he was brought 
back to the judge, who said to him: " My child, thou 
hast seen the fire; cease, then, to be a Christian, that 
thou mayest return to thy father s house, and inherit thy 
estates." The saint replied: " I fear neither fire nor the 
sword; but I am desirous to have a dwelling more mag 
nificent, and riches more lasting than those of my father! 
God will receive me. Do thou hasten to put me to 
death, that I may quickly go to enjoy him." 

The bystanders wept to hear the child speak thus; 
but he observed: " You should not weep, but rather re 
joice, and encourage me to suffer, in order that I may 
attain to the possession of that house which I so ardently 
desire." Remaining constant in these sentiments, he 
joyfully suffered death. 

The Acts of his martvrdom are found in Ruinart. 

St. Potamiena and Companions. 



June 28 and 30. 

THE martyrdom of St. Potamiena was most illustrious. 
This holy virgin was educated with great care in the fear 
of the Lord, by her pious mother Marcella; but being 
by condition a slave, and gifted by God with extraordi 
nary beauty, her pagan master conceived towards her a 
shameful passion, which he frequently manifested, and 
was as often indignantly repulsed. The unchaste wretch 
accordingly had recourse to the prefect of Egypt, and 
promised him a large sum of money if he would compel 
the saint to yield to his wishes, beseeching him at the 
same time to put her to death as a Christian, in case she 
should prove inexorable. 

The prefect forthwith summoned Potamiena to his 
presence ; and showing her all the apparatus of torture 
that -had been prepared for her in case of refusal, he 
commanded her to obey her master. He used all his 
arts to induce her to comply ; but the saint expressed 
her horror of the iniquitous demand, and, upbraiding 
him with the infamy of urging such a request, she said: 
" How is it possible that there can be found a judge so 
unjust as to condemn me, because I will not satisfy the 
inordinate desires of a lewd person ?" 

Mortified at the saint s constancy, and still more so 
by the rebuke, the prefect condemned her to a most 
cruel death. He ordered a caldron of pitch to be placed 
upon the fire, and when it commenced to boil, he com 
manded the holy virgin to be thrown in. The saint 
implored of him, since she had to suffer that death, 

222 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

that she might not be thrown into the caldron at once, 
but let down into it by degrees, in order that she might 
suffer the more, and thus manifest her love towards her 
crucified Spouse. "Thou shalt see," she continued, 
" how much patience is given to his servants, by that 
Jesus Christ whom thou knowest not." Although the 
prefect admired the courageous request of the virgin, he 
nevertheless acceded to it, and gave orders accordingly. 

The superintendence of the barbarous execution was 
entrusted to a soldier named Basilides, who, notwith 
standing that he readily accepted the commission, was 
kind enough to drive back some lewd young men, who 
were so insolent as to insult the saint. Potamiena 
promised him that she would reward his kindness by 
praying to God for him after her death. She was then 
immersed in the caldron by such slow degrees that, as 
Cardinal Orsi 1 writes, her martyrdom was protracted for 
a considerable time ; nor did she expire until the boil 
ing pitch reached her neck, when her pure soul went to 
enjoy the beatific vision of that God for whose love she 
had suffered so painful a death. Her triumph took 
place at Alexandria, about the year 210- when her pious 
mother also suffered the martyrdom of being burned 

Three days after her death, St. Potamiena appeared 
in glory to Basilides, and, placing a crown upon his 
head, said to him: " Know that I have prayed for thee 
to my God, whom I now enjoy ; he will presently call 
thee to that glory of which I have already been made a 
participator." The event proved the vision to be real ; 
for Basilides embraced the Christian faith, received 
baptism, and was beheaded by order of the prefect. 

The Acts of St. Potamiena s martyrdom are found in 
Ruinart, and are mentioned also by Tillemont in his 

1 Is for. eccl. 1. 5, n. fy. 

CHAP. XLIX.J SS. Nicandir and Martian. 223 



June 17. 

BOTH these saints belonged to the military profession, 
but in the reign of Diocletian, at the beginning of the 
fourth century, distressed at seeing the faithful perse 
cuted, they left the army, renouncing even the money 
that was due for their services. According to the mar- 
tyrology they retired to Venafro. 1 They were accused 
of being Christians, before the governor Maximus, who 
ordered them to sacrifice ; but Nicander answered : 
" This order should be given only to those who are will 
ing to obey it ; now we are Christians, and cannot do 
so." Maximus: "But why have ye refused to receive 
your pay?" Nicander : " \Ve cannot receive it, because 
the money of the impious is regarded by the servants of 
God as a contamination." Maximus: " Offer incense at 
least to the gods." Nicander : " How can a Christian 
abandon the worship of the true God, to adore stones 
and blocks? Or why should that honor be given to 
them which is due only to God ?" 

Daria, the wife of Nicander, was present at this inter 
rogation, and, filled with the Spirit of God, said to her 
husband : Far be it from tiiee, Nicander, to obey the 
governor, and renounce Jesus Christ. Remember that 
God to whom thou didst plight thy faith; he will be thy 
protector." Hereupon Maximus exclaimed: "Wicked 
woman ! why wouldst thou procure the death of thy 
husband?" Daria: " That he may the sooner attain to 
eternal life." Maximus: " Say rather, that thou art 

1 Ai present a city in the province of Naples. 

224 Martyrs of the First Ages, [PART i. 

anxious to have another husband, and therefore dost 
desire his death." Daria: " If thou hast any such sus 
picion, and sufficient authority, cause me to be first put 
to death for Jesus Christ." Maximus replied that he 
had received no orders regarding women; nevertheless 
he sent her to prison. 

Turning then to Nicander, the governor said: "Give 
no ear to the words of thy wife ; she pleads for death, 
but I will give thee time to consider whether it behove 
thee to live or die." Nicander answered: "Consider 
the time as already past. I have deliberated upon the 
matter, and am resolved to save myself." Maximus, 
believing that the saint meant to save his life by offer 
ing sacrifice, exclaimed : "Praise be to God." 

The words were repeated by the saint, and the gover 
nor was rejoicing over his imaginary victory, when he 
heard Nicander continue his prayer aloud; which was, 
that God would deliver him from the contamination of 
this world. Astonished at the supposed change, the 
governor exclaimed: "How is this? Just now thou 
wert anxious to live, and at present dost pray for death!" 
Nicander answered: "No; I wish not to die, but to live 
forever; therefore it is that I despise this life of which 
thou speakest. Upon my body thou mayest exercise 
what power thou hast. I am a Christian." 

The governor then, addressing himself to Marcian, 
asked him what he intended to do. The saint replied: 
"I profess and desire the same as my companion." 
" Then," said Maximus, " you shall both be brought to 
prison. Be prepared to receive the punishment you 

After twenty days they were again summoned before 
the governor, who asked them whether they were now 
prepared to obey the emperors. Marcian courageously 
replied: "All thy exhortations can never make us aban 
don our God. We know that he calls us to himself. 

CHAP. XLIX.J SS. Nicander and Martian. 225 

Detain us not, therefore, but send us to our crucified 
Lord, whom, although you blaspheme, we nevertheless 
adore." Maximus then said: "Since ye wish to die, be 
it so." Marcian: "Let it be quickly, not that we are 
afraid of torments, but because we are anxious to be 
united to Jesus Christ." Maximus: I am innocent of 
your deaths; they are the orders of the emperors, not I 
that condemn you. If you are sure of going to a better 
place, I am glad." Having received sentence of death, 
the saints replied: " Peace be with thee, Maximus;" and 
full of religious joy, they went forward to martyrdom, 
praising the Lord. 

Nicander was followed by his wife Daria and his little 
son, whom Papian, brother to the martyr St. Pasicrates, 
carried in his arms. When the holy martyr was about 
to be decapitated, Daria endeavored to approach, in 
order to encourage him, but could not by reason of the 
crowd; whereupon Marcian, stretching forth his hand, 
presented her to Nicander, who took leave of her with a 
serene countenance, saying: " Peace be with thee." The 
undaunted woman exhorted him in the following words: 
" Be of good courage, my dear husband, and complete 
thy sacrifice. I am consoled now that I behold thee 
going to everlasting glory; and being thus made the 
wife of a martyr, I rejoice at my happy lot. Give to 
God those manifestations of love which are his due, and 
pray for me, that he may save my soul from eternal 

Marcian also was followed by his wife and other rela 
tives; but she, on the contrary, tore her garments, and 
exclaimed: "Ah me! why dost thou despise me, my 
Marcian? Take pity on me, or at least upon this my 
child." Marcian, interrupting her, said: "How long 
shall the devil continue to keep thee blind ? Depart, and 
allow me to terminate my martyrdom in peace." But 
she continued her wailings, and even threw herself upon 

226 Martyrs of t lie First Ages. [PART i. 

him to impede his progress. The saint, therefore, re 
quested a pious Christian, named Zoticus, to keep her 
back, and having arrived at the place of execution, said 
to her: "In the name of the Lord, retire, possessed as 
thou art by the devil, thou canst not behold the termina 
tion of my triumph." Then embracing his son, he raised 
his eyes to heaven, and said: "My God, take this my 
child into thy holy keeping." 

Finally, the two saints, having given each other the 
kiss of peace, had their eyes bound by the executioner, 
and were beheaded. 

The Acts of this martyrdom are also copied by 
Ruinart. 1 



June 25 and 26. 

JOHN and Paul were two holy brothers, Italians of noble 
birth, and strongly attached to the Christian religion. It 
happened at their time that Constance, the daughter of 
Constantine the Great, having been cured of a trouble 
some disease through the intercession of St. Agnes, 8 

1 Dom Ruinart adds the following extract from manuscripts in the 
Vatican Library: "The holy martyrs Nicander and Marcian, as also 
Daria, the wife of Nicander, and his son, terminated their career at 
Venafro. The Christians carried off their bodies, and buried them near 
the place where they had been beheaded ; afterwards a church was built 
here in their honor." And Cardinal Baronius, in his notes upon the 
martyrology, cites another author (Petrus de Natalibus, in Catal. 1. 5, c. 
go), who assures us that the wife of St. Nicander also underwent the 
capital punishment three days after her husband. ED. 

2 See note, page 189. 

CHAP. LI 61S. Gallican, John, and Pan I. 227 

resolved to lead a devout life, and made a vow of vir 
ginity. The emperor, willing to indulge her religious 
propensities, allowed her to live quite retired, and ap 
pointed the two young brothers to act as her pages. 

The Scythians having invaded Thrace some time after, 
witli a formidable army, Constantine thought of sending 
Gallican to oppose them as he had been consul, and by 
reason of many victories obtained over the barbarians, 
had acquired the reputation of a valiant commander. 
The emperor accordingly appointed him general over 
the entire army; but Gallican refused to accept the com 
mission, except on condition that, upon his returning 
victorious, he should marry the princess. To this the 
emperor assented. 

In the first engagement, the Roman army was so over 
powered by the enemy, that Gallican was on the point 
of giving orders for a retreat, when our two saints, John 
and Paul, who had accompanied him to this war, advised 
him to make a vow that he would embrace the Christian 
faith if the Lord would render him victorious. Gallican 
adopted this pious counsel; whereupon the enemy, 
miraculously seized with a sudden panic, threw down 
their arms, and surrendered at discretion. 

After the victory Gallican returned to the court, not 
indeed with the intention of being married to the prin 
cess, but with the more pious resolution of receiving 
baptism, and dedicating the remainder of his days ex 
clusively to the service of God. In effect he retired to 
Ostia, with St. Hilarinus, where he caused a great hos 
pital to be built, in which he assisted the sick with his 
own hands. 

Julian the Apostate, upon his accession to the empire, 
commanded him either to adore the idols or withdraw 
from Italy; and Gallican accordingly retired to Alexan 
dria, where he continued to lead a holy life, which he 
terminated by a glorious martyrdom, on the 25th of 

228 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

June, upon which day he is commemorated by the 

John and Paul returned to the princess, and continued 
to wait upon her until her death, when they were em 
ployed in the court; but as soon as Julian ascended the 
throne, and declared his intentions regarding the Chris 
tians, our saints left the palace, to lead a private and 
religious life. 

Julian, knowing their strong attachment to the faith 
of Jesus Christ, and their readiness to assist the needy 
or afflicted Christians, ordered Terentian, captain of the 
Imperial Guards, to intimate to them that it was the 
emperor s will they should remain at court, and continue 
to discharge the duties annexed to their respective offices. 
f he saints replied that, being Christians, they could not 
serve an emperor who was an avowed enemy of Jesus 
Christ. Upon receiving this answer, Julian commanded 
Terentian to put them to death, if, after ten days, they 
should still refuse to return; but the saints declared that, 
not only after ten days, but after ten years, they would 
be equally unwilling to abandon their religion, for which 
they were most anxious to lay down their lives. 

After the ten days, however, Terentian appeared at 
their house with an image of Jove, and a message from 
the emperor that, if they would but adore it, he would 
be satisfied. The saints, filled with horror at seeing an 
idol in their house, exclaimed: " In pity, sir, remove 
from our sight that execrable object ! Who can be so 
blind as not to perceive that there is but one only God, 
and that the histories of all these false deities are only 
fables and impiety?" Terentian replied: "But if you 
obey not, I am obliged to put you to death." Hereupon 
the saints, casting themselves upon their knees, and rais 
ing their eyes to heaven, gave God thanks for having 
given them the grace to die for his holy faith. 

These two pious brothers were greatly esteemed in 

CHAP. LI.] A7. Theodorus of Amasea. 229 

Rome; and Terentian, fearing that their public execu 
tion might occasion a sedition, caused them to be be 
headed in their own house, about midnight, and to be 
buried in the adjoining garden. By this means he 
thought to conceal their death, but God caused it to be 
published by several energumens, who went about the 
following morning, declaring that the brothers had suf 
fered martyrdom. A young son of Terentian, who was 
also possessed of the devil, proclaimed their death; and 
having been cured through the intercession of our saints, 
Terentian and his entire family embraced the Christian 

These events occurred in 362. From the fifth century 
there has existed a church in Rome dedicated to God in 
honor of Sts. John and Paul, martyrs, in which their 
bodies are preserved. This church stjll exists at the 
present time. 1 Their names are inserted in the Canon 
of the Mass. 



ST. GREGORY NYSSENUS has left us a noble panegyric 
in praise of St. Theodorus, who belonged to the military 
profession, and was a most exemplary Christian. He 
happened to be witli his legion at Amasea, a city of 
Pontus, when Galerius and Maximin were persecuting 
the Christians, in the year 306. His commanding officer, 
knowing him to be a Christian, commanded him to sac- 

1 This church gives title to a Cardinal. In 1773 it was given by 
Clement XIV. to the Blessed Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Congre 
gation of the Passionists a work which he had begun with his brother 
John Baptist. The Holy Father, while making this donation graciously 
called to mind the names of the two brothers: Joannes et Pan Ins. ED. 

230 Martyrs of t/ie First Ages. [PARTI. 

rifice to the gods, in obedience to the imperial edicts. 
The saint protested that he was faithful to the emper 
ors, but was also anxious to be faithful to his God, and 
that sooner than abandon his faith, he would willingly 
lose his honors, his possessions, and his life. 

He was accordingly brought before the governor, who 
used all his arts to persuade him to renounce Jesus 
Christ, but the Christian hero, despising alike his prom 
ises and his threats, boldly answered: "lam prepared 
to persevere in my religion, although I be torn to pieces 
or burned alive; it is but just that my body should be 
sacrificed to Him who created it." After this protesta 
tion, the governor discharged him, adding that he would 
give him time to consider whether he would obey the em 
perors ; but Theodorus employed the while in implor 
ing from God the graces necessary for the struggle that 
awaited him. 

He continued to comfort the persecuted Christians, 
and to exhort them to remain steadfast in their confes 
sion of Jesus Christ. Moved by an extraordinary in 
spiration from God, he set fire one night to a famous 
temple in the city, dedicated to the goddess Cybele, who 
was adored by the pagans as the mother of the gods; 
and, as there was a high wind at the time, the fabric was 
quickly reduced to ashes. The saint, instead of conceal 
ing his action, joyously proclaimed that he had burned 
the execrable building, and was accordingly arrested and 
brought before the governor, who threatened the severest 
tortures unless he would atone for his crime by sacrific 
ing to the gods. Theodorus answered that he gloried in 
what he had done. 

The governor, perceiving that Theodorus was not to 
be moved by threats, endeavored to gain him over by 
allurements, and promised to raise him to the pontifical 
dignity if he would comply. The saint replied: "I look 
upon the idolatrous priests as unhappy men, and the 

CHAP. LI] Si. Theodorus of A masea. 231 

pontiffs I consider more so. Since, among the impious, 
they rank highest, their condition is the more lamentable. 
Truly pious persons should rejoice in having the lowest 
place in the house of God." x Enraged at these words, 
the tyrant caused him to be stretched upon the rack, and 
his sides to be torn with iron hooks, until the bones were 
laid bare; yet during this terrible torture the saint joy 
ously chanted that verse of the Psalm: I will bless the 
Lord at all times: his praise shall be always in my mouth? 

The governor, astonished at so much patience, said to 
him: "Unhappy man! art thou not ashamed to place thy 
confidence in that Christ who was obliged to suffer so 
ignominious a death?" Theodorus returned him the 
following pious answer: "It is an ignominy which is 
gloried in by all those who invoke the name of the Lord 
Jesus." The governor then sent him to prison, hoping 
that after some time he might be enabled to overcome 
his fortitude; but the saint was visited in the night by 
angels, who, together with him, chanted the divine 
praises, and filled his dungeon with celestial splendor 
that astonished the keeper. 

After some day-s, the governor, finding his constancy 
undiminished, commanded him to be burned alive. St. 
Theodorus received the sentence with joy; upon ap 
proaching the fire he armed himself with the sign of the 
cross, and continued till his last breath to bless the 

1 See another part of the answer of the saint, page 34. 
" Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore; semper laus ejus in ore 
meo." Ps. xxxiii. 2. 

232 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 



March 7. 

ST. AUGUSTINE makes frequent and honorable men 
tion of these saints in his works, and was wont to hold 
them up to the people as examples of fidelity to Jesus 

The Emperor Severus published an edict, commanding 
all Christians who refused to sacrifice to the gods to be 
put to death; whereupon Minutius, the proconsul of 
Africa, caused five young persons to be arrested at 
Carthage, who were as yet catechumens, and, together 
with them, 1 Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, Sts. Saturninus 
and Secundulus." 

Perpetua was a young woman, only twenty-two years 
of age, who led a very devout life, was married, and had 

1 We are here informed that the martyrs were nine in number five 
catechumens, and four whose names are given; but from their Acts, 
most correctly edited by Ruinart, it appears that the saints who are 
named were four of the five catechumens; the fifth was one Revocatus. 
They were afterwards joined by Saturus, who voluntarily surrendered 
himself to the persecutors, and is mentioned by St. Perpetua in the nar 
ration of her first vision. ED. 

- We have judged it necessary to modify somewhat a few passages of 
this interesting account after authentic Acts collected with much care 
and given entire by Ruinart and Alban Butler. By them we are in 
formed that Felicitas was seven or eight months gone with child, and 
that Perpetua had yet a father, an old man still very much attached to 
paganism; her mother was evidently a Christian, as was one of her two 
brothers, the other being a catechumen; her infant was yet at her breast, 
and she nursed it herself. We observe that St. Saturus is not men 
tioned in the Roman martyrology. En. 

CHAP. LII.I Sf. Perpetua and Companions. 233 

an onlv son. Felicitas was still younger, but also mar 
ried, and a most exemplary person. The martyrs were 
kept for some time in a private house, guarded by 
soldiers; during which time the father of St. Perpetua 
came to see her, and, being a pagan, used all his en 
deavors to make her abandon the faith. In the original 
Acts of these martyrs we find that the occurrences which 
took place up to the eve of their martyrdom were writ 
ten by St. Perpetua herself. The principal facts are the 

My father," writes the saint, used all his endeavors 
to pervert me; I resolutely answered, Father, I am a 
Christian. He instantly threw himself upon me in a 
rage, as if to tear out my eyes, and used the most in 
jurious language. A few days afterwards we all received 
the holy baptism, and were led to the public prison, 
where I was horrified by the darkness, the noisome 
smell, and the great heat occasioned by the number of 
prisoners. I had the happiness to have my son brought 
to me here, which greatly consoled me. My brother 
came to see me, and desired me to pray to the Lord to 
let me know whether I was to. obtain the crown of mar 
tyrdom. I accordingly placed myself in prayer, and 
saw, in a vision, a golden ladder which reached to the 
heavens; it was very narrow, and to the sides were fixed 
sharp knives and iron spikes. At the foot of this ladder 
was a dragon, who appeared ready to devour those that 
would attempt to mount it. The first that went up was 
a certain Christian named Saturus, who invited me to 
follow him. I ascended, and found myself in a spacious 
garden, where I met a man of very fine aspect, who said 
to me: Thou art welcome, my daughter. After this 
vision I knew that we were all destined to surfer martyr 
dom, and I told my brother so. 

"My father came again to see me at the prison, and 
throwing himself at my feet in a flood of tears : Da ugh- 

234 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

ter, he said, * have pity on me, a poor old man, that am 
thy father; have pity, at least, on thy child, and bring 
not ruin upon us all by thy obstinacy/ I was pierced 
with grief, but remained immovable in my resolution. 

"On the following day I was brought before the au 
ditor, Hilarian, who, by reason of the death of the pro 
consul, acted as judge. My father appeared with me, 
holding my son in his arms, whereupon the judge said : 
Perpetua, have pity on thy father and on thy son 
sacrifice to the gods. I answered that I was a Chris 
tian, and that we were all ready to die for our faith. 
The judge then condemned us to be devoured by wild 

" We received the sentence with joy, and were 
brought back to prison, where we were met by my 
father, who tearing his hair and his beard, threw him 
self upon his face on the earth, lamenting that he lived 
to see that day. He once endeavored to pull me off the 
platform, but the judge commanded him to be beaten 
off, and he received a blow with a stick, at which I was 
much grieved; but the Lord continued to grant me 

Secundulus died in prison, of his sufferings, and Sa- 
turus had already obtained the crown. 1 Felicitas de- 

1 The Acts state that Saturus suffered with the rest, and also relate a 
vision with which he was honored. We are assured by the same ven 
erable authority, that St. Perpetua was favored with two other most 
important visions. She had a young brother, named Dinocrates, who 
died when he was only seven years of age, of a most hideous ulcer in 
the face. She recollected his death during her imprisonment; and 
having prayed for his repose, saw him in a vision, with the ulcer on his 
face, having a most squalid appearance, and endeavoring to drink from 
a vessel which he could not reach. After her vision she knew that her 
brother was in pain, and continued to pray fervently for his relief. 
She was accordingly favored with a second vision, in which she saw 
him quite clean, refreshing himself with the water, and retaining only a 
scar where the ulcer had formerly been, " I knew," she says, " from 

CHAP. LII.I St. Perpetua and Companions. 235 

sired to suffer with the rest, but she was pregnant, and 
the law forbade women to be put to death in that state. 
Her companions therefore prayed for her, and on that 
very day she was delivered of a daughter. The saint 
moaned by reason of her pains, and one of the guards 
said to her: "Dost thou moan? What wilt thou do 
when thou shalt be devoured by wild beasts ?" She an 
swered : "I now suffer by myself; but then I shall have 
Jesus Christ with me, and by his grace I will endure all 
things for his sake." 

Upon the appointed day the martyrs went forward to 
execution with a joy that was manifest to all. 

The other saints having been torn, by the wild beasts, 

this vision, that he had been released from his pain." It has been 
thought worth while to mention these visions of St. Perpetua, as they 
must be most acceptable to the reader, since they show that the ex 
istence of a place of temporary punishment after death, and prayers 
for the departed, were doctrines of the Church as early as the year 203. 
Ruinart, in his " Admonitio in passionem, SS. Perpet. et Felic., num. 
6," refutes the opinion of Valesius, that the compiler of these Acts was 
a Montanist, because these heretics pretended to have many supernal 
illustrations, and like the fanatics of our own days, extraordinary im 
pulses from the Holy Spirit. He also mentions a letter written to 
Valesius, wherein the writer endeavors to prove from his style in simi 
lar productions that Tertullian was the original compiler. Indeed, St. 
Perpetua herself has been most unjustly charged with Montanism by 
the enemies of Catholic doctrine, but the imputation is as injudicious 
as it is unjust, since it establishes beyond a doubt the authenticity of 
the Acts, which could not be denied, and palpably manifests the straits 
to which heresy is driven. How could the Church rank as a martyr a 
woman belonging to a sect universally condemned for their blasphe 
mous errors, and loathed and abhorred for their enormous extravagan 
ces ? St. Augustine himself, although he declares (Lib. I, de anima, 
ad Renatum, et Lib. 3, ad Vincent.) that the Revelations of St. Per 
petua are not to be placed in the Canon of Scripture, nevertheless 
styles them " Divine Revelations," and calls upon the faithful to honor 
them Exhortationes earum in DiviNis REVELATIONIBUS, cum Icgeren- 
tur, audivimus . . . niente spectavirnus, religione honoravimus." S. 
Aug. Serm. i, de SS. Perpet. et Felic. ED. 

236 Martyrs of the First Ages. (PART i. 

Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas were wrapped in nets and 
exposed to a mad cow. St. Perpetua was first attacked, 
and having been tossed in the air, she fell upon her 
back. Then sitting up, she perceived her clothes torn, 
and was endeavoring to cover herself, when she was 
again knocked down; but recovering herself, she 
stretched forth her hand to raise St. Felicitas, whom 
she perceived prostrate upon the ground, much hurt. 
The populace were at length moved to compassion, and 
the two saints were led into the centre of the amphi 
theatre, and despatched by the gladiators. Thus did 
they receive, with their companions, the heavenly crown, 
on the yth March, in the year 203. 

St. Augustine 1 cites the Acts of their martyrdom, and 
Tertullian 2 and St. Fulgentius 3 have passed the most 
magnificent encomiums on Sts, Perpetua and Felicitas. 
They are mentioned also in the Canon of the Mass. 
Their relics were brought to Rome." 




July 27. 

SPAIN was honored by the martyrdom of many Chris 
tians under the Moors, in the ninth century. Among 
these was Aurelius, who was born in Corduba, of an opu- 

1 De Aniina, 1. i, c. 10; 1. 3, c. 9; 1. 4, c. 18. 

- De Anima. 

Sertn. 70. 

4 Dom Ruinart and Giry add that the body of St. Perpetua, taken later 
to France, was resting in their time at the Abbey of St. Peter of Vier- 
zon. ED. 

CHAP. Liii.i SS. George and Companions. 237 

lent and noble family. His father was a Mahomedan, 
and his mother a Christian; but having been left an 
orphan very young, he was reared by his aunt in the 
Christian religion. The Mahomedan books which the 
Moors made him read served only to convince him of the 
falsity of their sect, and to make him more enamoured of 
the religion of Jesus Christ. Urged by his relatives to 
marry, he espoused Natalia, a Christian virgin, remark 
able for her piety. 

Aurelius was related to a certain Christian named 
Felix, who had unhappily denied the faith; but al 
though he repented of this sin he had not the courage 
to proclaim himself, and accordingly lived very retired 
with his wife; both families, however, lived on terms of 
the strictest intimacy. 

Aurelius one day saw a certain Christian merchant 
called John cruelly scourged in the public square, and 
afterwards dragged through the city; after which sight 
he returned home and said to his wife: "Thou art con 
tinually exhorting me to retire from the world. I be- 
believe the hour has now arrived, in which God calls me 
to a more perfect life. Let us, therefore, from this day 
forward live as brother and sister; let us give our whole 
attention to the service of God, and prepare ourselves 
for martyrdom." Natalia instantly adopted the advice, 
and from that hour they gave themselves to a more holy 
life of prayer and mortification. Among other works of 
Christian charity, Aurelius visited the men and Na 
talia the women who were imprisoned for the faith; 
and among these confessors they met a holy priest 
named Eulogius, who afterwards wrote the Acts of their 
martyrdom. He advised Aurelius to put his children 
in a place of safety; and, having left them a competence, 
to sell the remainder of his goods, and give the money to 
the poor. Meanwhile, two holy virgins, Mary and Flora, 
who had been visited in prison by Natalia, suffered mar- 

238 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

tyrdom, and afterwards appeared to her in a vision, 
dressed in white robes and resplendent with glory. 
Natalia at this happy sight said to them: " Shall I also 
have the blessed lot to tread the same path which con 
ducted you to heaven?" "Yes," they replied, "for thee 
also is martyrdom being prepared thou shalt shortly 
be with us in glory." Natalia related her vision to Au- 
relius. From that moment they thought of nothing but 
preparing themselves to die for Jesus Christ; and, ac 
cording to the advice of Eulogius, distributed their 
property to the poor. 

At this time there came to Corduba a certain monk, 
from Palestine, named George, who had lived for 
twenty-seven years in the monastery of St. Saba. He 
had been sent by the abbot of another monastery, con 
taining nearly five hundred religious, to Africa, for the 
purpose of collecting alms; but on his arrival he found 
the Christians greatly oppressed by the Moors, and ac 
cordingly passed into Spain, where he found religion 
similarly circumstanced. Uncertain what course to 
adopt, he repaired to a certain monastery of exemplary 
religious, at Tabnes, to recommend himself to their 
prayers. He here met Natalia, who upon seeing him, 
exclaimed: "This good monk is destined to be our 
companion in martyrdom!" It so happened; for on the 
following day Natalia brought him to her own house 
at Corduba, where they found Felix and his wife Liliosa 
speaking with Aurelius concerning their desire of dying 
for Jesus Christ. Moved by divine grace, they all re 
solved to repair to the church, that, thus declaring them 
selves to be Christians, they might obtain the wished- 
for crown. 

They were not arrested in the church; but on their 
return, being asked by a Moorish officer why they had 
entered the church, they answered: "The faithful are 
wont to visit the tombs of the martvrs; and we have 

CHAP. LIU.] SS. George and Companions. 239 

done so, because we are Christians." The officer in 
stantly sent a report to the governor, and on the follow 
ing day a guard was sent to the house. Having arrived 
at the door, they cried out: Come forth, ye wretches! 
come to the death, since ye are weary of life!" Aurelius 
and Felix appeared, accompanied by their wives; and 
George, the monk, perceiving that the soldiers heeded 
him not, said to them: "Why will ye compel Christians 
to follow your false religion ?" For these words he was 
instantly maltreated by the soldiers, with blows and 
kicks, and knocked prostrate on the ground; whereupon 
Natalia said: "Rise, brother, and we shall proceed." 

The holy monk answered: " Meanwhile, sister, I have 
earned this much for Christ;" and having raised him 
self up very much bruised, he was in that state presented 
with the rest to the governor, who asked them why they 
thus blindly ran to death, and made them promises of 
the most ample rewards if they would renounce Jesus 
Christ. They answered with one accord: " These prom 
ises can avail nothing. We despise this present life, be 
cause we hope for a better one. We love our faith, and 
abhor every other religion." Hereupon the governor 
sent them to prison, and having found them constant in 
their faith at the end of five days, condemned them all 
to death, with the exception of George. But the holy 
monk having declared that Mahomet was a disciple of 
the devil, and that his followers were in a state of per 
dition, he also was condemned with his companions. 

While they were proceeding to the place of execution 
Natalia encouraged the others to suffer with fortitude; 
which so irritated the soldiers that they ceased not to 
buffet and kick her until they arrived at the appointed 
place, where all these blessed martyrs received the 
crown, on the 2yth July, in the year 852. 

1 Alban Butler adds that the Christians took away the bodies dur 
ing the night and buried them in different places. St. Eulogius took 

240 Martyrs of tke First Ages. IPART i. 




October n. 

THE martyrdom of these three saints causes us to 
wonder at the extent to which the cruelty of tyrants and 
the patience of saints can be carried. Cardinal Orsi 
assures us that there is no document of antiquity more 
authentic than the original Acts of these martyrs. They 
were brought before Numerianus Maximus, governor of 
the province, at Tarsus, the metropolis of Cilicia. Their 
Acts are given at length by Orsi, but we here give a 
succinct account, for the convenience of the reader. 

Tarachus, who was the eldest, was first interrogated. 
Being asked his name, he replied: "I am a Christian." 
The governor said: " But I wish to know thy name." 
Tarachus again replied: " I am a Christian." Maximus, 
in a rage, desired the executioners to break his jaw 
bones, and to tell him not to answer one thing for an 
other. The saint observed that he had answered his 
real name, but that he was called Tarachus by others; 
and proceeded to state that he was a Roman citizen, and 
had belonged to the military profession, but retired 

charge of the education of the two daughters of Sts. Aurelius and Na 
talia, and finished also his life by a glorious martyrdom, March n, 859. 
In 858 two monks of the abbey of St. Germain des Pres, at Paris, 
named Usnard and Odilard, carried from Corduba to France the bod 
ies of Sts. George and Aurelius with the head of St. Natalia. This 
transfer was accompanied by many miracles: Aimoin wrote an account 
of it. ED. 

1 Is tor. ecti. 1. 9, n. 30. 

CHAP. LIV.] SS. TaracJius and Companions. 241 

from the army in order the better to observe his relig 
ion. Maximus then said: "In consideration of thy age 
I am anxious to honor thee, if thou wilt obey the emper 
or by sacrificing to the gods." The saint replied: " The 
emperors are grievously mistaken and blinded by the 
devil. To my God I sacrifice my heart, and not the 
blood of animals which he needetli not. Whilst I honor 
the law of God, 1 cannot observe the law of false deities." 
Maximus asked: And besides ours, is there any other 
law?" Tarachus answered: "This your law is impious, 
since it teaches you to adore as gods blocks of marble 
and of wood." The governor then caused the saint to 
be stripped and scourged with rods, during which tor 
ture he said: These stripes but encourage me to place 
all my confidence in God and in his Christ." Maximus 
rejoined: "Then thou servest two gods? Having con 
fessed God and Christ, how canst thou deny a plurality 
of Gods?" Tarachus explained: "I confess one only 
God, because Christ is the Son of God; and the Father 
and the Son are but one God." Maximus, being un 
willing to hear him any further, sent him to prison; and 
desired Probus to be brought before him. 

This saint being asked his name and parentage, an 
swered that men called him Probus, but that it was much 
more pleasing to him to be called a Christian. He add 
ed, that his father was of Thrace, but that he was born 
in Pamphylia; that he was a plebeian by condition, and 
had been possessed of a large estate, which he had re 
nounced to serve God. Maximus told him that by sac 
rificing to the gods he would be honored by the emper 
ors, and that he himself would admit him to his friend 
ship. Probus replied: "I want neither honors from the 
emperors, nor thy friendship." The governor then or 
dered him to be stripped and beaten with sinews of 
oxen, and after some time to be turned and beaten on 
the belly. During this torture Probus called upon the 
1 6 

242 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

Lord to assist him; whereupon Maximus sent some of 
the executioners to ask him where was the assistance of 
God which he had invoked. The saint replied: "God 
helps me, and will continue to help me; so much so that 
I dread not your torments." Maximus said: "Look, 
wretch, how the ground is all covered with thy blood !" 
The saint answered: " But thou shouldst know that the 
more my body suffers for Christ, the more my soul is 
enlivened." The governor then sent him to prison, and 
called Andronicus. 

Maximus questioned this saint also concerning his 
name and parentage; he answered that he was a Chris 
tian, but was called Andronicus by men, and that he was 
a native of Ephesus, of noble family. Maximus said to 
him: " Obey the emperors who are our fathers, and 
adore the gods." Andronicus replied: " Thou art right 
in calling them fathers; for the devil is thy father." 
Maximus said: "I have compassion on thy youth; but 
know that I have great torments ready, in case thou wilt 
not sacrifice to the gods." Andronicus replied: "I ap 
pear to tliee young in years; but my soul hath grown to 
a manly age, and I am prepared for all thy torments." 
Maximus then commanded him to be put to torture; 
during which a certain notary told him to obey the gov 
ernor. Andronicus said: "Keep thy advice to thyself; 
although older than I am thou art foolish in advising 
me to sacrifice to demons." During the infliction of the 
tortures the tyrant said to him: "Wretch, art thou in 
sensible to torments ? Wilt thou not give over thy fol 
lies which cannot save thee from my hands?" The 
saint answered: "These follies are necessary for those 
who put their trust in God; but thy wisdom shall bring 
eternal death to thy soul." The governor then ordered 
that he should be cruelly tortured in the limbs, that his 
sides should be torn, and his wounds scraped with broken 
tiles. The saint having endured all with fortitude, had 

CHAP. LIV.] SS. Tarachus and Companions. 243 

chains put about his neck and feet, and was sent to 
prison with the rest. 

The governor having gone from Tarsus to Mopsues- 
tia, summoned the three saints before him at this place; 
and again beginning with Tarachus, commanded him 
to sacrifice to the gods. The saint having persevered 
in his refusal, Maximus ordered his mouth to be beaten 
with a stone until his teeth were knocked out; upon 
which he said: "Although thou shouldst break every 
limb of my body, yet will I not alter my resolution. I 
am prepared to suffer all thou canst invent; and am 
well assured of receiving the necessary assistance from 
him for whom I combat." Maximus then caused the 
fire to be brought, and his hands to be burned; where 
upon Tarachus said: " This fire doth not cause me to be 
afraid; I fear rather the eternal fire which would await 
me, did I obey thy command." Maximus then com 
manded him to be tied up by the feet, and suspended 
over a great smoke; the saint having suffered these tor 
tures without the least complaint the tyrant caused his 
nostrils to be filled with vinegar, salt, and mustard; but, 
perceiving that Tarachus endured all in silence, he re 
manded him to prison till he could devise new tortures. 

After this Probus was called up, and the governor 
said to him: "The emperors sacrifice to the gods, and 
wilt thou not sacrifice?" Probus answered: "The tor 
ments which thou hast already caused me to suffer have 
given me new strength; it is, therefore, improbable that 
I can be induced to sacrifice to the gods whom I know 
not. I adore one only God, and him only do I serve. 
How can blocks of wood and marble be called gods?" 
Maximus. interrupting him, caused him to be buffeted 
on the rnouth, and the soles of his feet burned with red- 
hot plates of iron; but the saint appearing insensible to 
these tortures, was stretched upon the rack and most 
cruelly scourged. The tyrant perceiving that all these 

244 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

torments were insufficient to overcome the constancy of 
the saint, commanded his head to be shaved and burn 
ing coals to be placed upon it; but finding that this tor 
ture was also to no purpose, he endeavored to seduce 
him by promising him the favor of the emperors, which 
had been extended to previous apostates. Probus an 
swered: " All those who have received such favors have 
thereby miserably lost themselves. What can he ex 
pect who has lost the favor of the only true God ?" 
Maximus, who imagined himself personally offended by 
every answer of the saint, ordered him to be again buf 
feted on the face, and brought back to prison. 

Andronicus was next summoned, whom the tyrant 
endeavored to persuade that Tarachus and Probus had 
already sacrificed. The saint replied: "In vain dost 
thou attempt to deceive me with lies; they have not 
done so, nor will I ever be induced to do so. I fear thee 
not; use all thy tortures, and thou shalt see how far 
superior to them is a true servant of the Lord." Upon 
these words the tyrant caused him to be tied between 
four posts, and most cruelly scourged; whereupon the 
saint asked: "Have all thy threats only come to this?" 
Maximus ordered his lacerated back to be rubbed with 
salt, but the saint told the executioners to continue this 
infliction in order that he might be well seasoned. 
"Thou shalt not," said Maximus, "overcome me." 
"Nor shall I," replied Andronicus, "ever permit thy 
torments to diminish my constancy. By the grace of 
that God who strengthens me, thou shalt always find 
me the same." It so happened: the governor, wearied 
by his perseverance, ordered him back to prison. 

Maximus then passed to the city of Anazarbus, 
whither he commanded the saints to be brought, and 
again began with Tarachus, ordering him to sacrifice 
to the gods. "O wretched deities!" exclaimed the 
saint, " for whom and for whose worshippers eternal fire 
is prepared." Maximus: " I perceive that thou wouldst 

CHAP. UY i .SIS". Tarachus and Companions. 245 

have me instantly behead thee in order that thy suffer 
ings be shortened." Tarachus: "Thou art deceived: 
for, on the contrary, I beseech thee to prolong my com 
bat, that I may receive the greater reward." " Un 
happy wretch!" exclaimed the tyrant, "what reward 
canst thou hope for from death ?" Tarachus: "Alas, 
thou knowest not the reward which is prepared for us 
by our God who is in heaven!" After this interroga 
tion had continued for some time, the tyrant ordered 
him to be stretched on the rack, to be buffeted on the 
face and mouth, and his breasts to be perforated with 
red-hot iron spikes; he then commanded his ears to be 
cut off, and the skin to be flayed from his head, that 
burning coals might be placed thereon; during this tor 
ture the saint said: " Exercise what cruelty thou wilt, I 
will never turn my back upon the God who strengthens 
me." Finally, his shoulders having been pierced as his 
breasts had been, he was condemned to the beasts and 
sent to prison. 

Probus was next called, and Maximus, finding his 
constancy undiminished, caused him to be suspended by 
the feet, and his sides and back to be pierced with red- 
hot spikes. Having then caused wine and meats, which 
had been offered to the gods, to be forced down his 
throat, the tyrant said to him: " What has the endurance 
of thy tortures availed thee? Behold ! thou hast at last 
participated in our sacrifices." Probus answered: "Doth 
it, then, appear to thee that thou hast obtained a great 
victory? Although thou shouldst cause all the filth of 
thy altars to be forced into my mouth, yet would not my 
soul be contaminated, since God beholds the violence 
which I have suffered." Maximus, to vent his rage upon 
him, caused the calves of his legs and his hands to be 
thoroughly perforated with red-hot spikes, and his eyes 
to be burned out with them; yet during these horrible 
tortures no word of lamentation was heard from the 
saint; but he continued to bless the Lord, and said to the 

246 Martyrs of flic First Ages. [PART i. 

tyrant: "As long as I shall have breath, I will render 
thanksgiving to the Lord, who grants me strength and 
patience; I desire nothing so much as to finish my life 
by the most cruel death which thy tyranny can invent, 
in order that I may render to God the homage which he 

Andronicus was then brought forward, and having 
continued to despise equally the threats and promises of 
the tyrant, rolls of paper were lighted upon his abdomen, 
and burning spikes placed between his fingers. The 
saint having invoked the name of Jesus for strength to 
suffer these tortures, Maxirnus said to him : " This Jesus, 
in whom thou confidest, was a malefactor, crucified by 
Pontius Pilate." "Peace!" replied Andronicus, " thou 
shouldst not speak of him, of whom thou art unworthy; 
if thou didst know him, thou wouldst not blaspheme his 
name, nor persecute his servants. Thou and thy associ 
ates shall suffer for this; but may the Lord punish ye in 
such a manner that ye may come to the knowledge of 
your misdeeds." After this speech Maximus caused his 
teeth and tongue to be pulled out, and sent him back to 

Upon the following day an arena of wild beasts was 
prepared, to whom the martyrs were exposed; the beasts 
not daring to approach them, a most ferocious bear was 
let loose; but the animal having approached Andronicus, 
began to lick his wounds, whereupon Maximus com 
manded her to be killed at the saint s feet. A lioness 
was then put forward; but she laid down at the feet of 
Tarachus like a lamb. Maximus having caused her to 
be irritated, her fury was directed towards the spectators, 
and she was accordingly shut up in her deij. Finally, 
the tyrant caused the martyrs to be cut down by the 
gladiators, and they thus obtained the desired crown. 1 

1 Their Acts contain another interesting fact. Before retiring the gov 
ernor commanded ten soldiers to intermix the bodies with those of the 

CHAP. LV.J Si. Quirinus, Bishop of Siscia. 247 



June 4. 

THE Emperors Diocletian and Maximian having abdi 
cated the empire, in the year 303, their successor, Gale- 
rius, continued the persecution against the Christians. 
St. Quirinus, who was bishop of Siscia, 1 in Croatia, after 
having converted the inhabitants of that country to the 
faith of Christ, understanding that Maximus, who ruled 
in Pannonia as lieutenant for the governor, had given 
orders for his arrest, escaped from the city, in order 
that he might be spared for the benefit of his flock. 

He was overtaken, however, by the soldiers, and pre 
sented before Maximus, who asked him why he had fled; 
the saint replied: "I obey the orders of my Master, who 
hath said, When they persecute ye in one city, fly ye into 
another 1 Maximus: "Who hath given this order?" 
Quirinus: "Jesus Christ, who is the true God." Maxi 
mus: "But knowest thou not that the emperor can find 

gladiators who had been slain, and to guard them in order that they might 
not be recognized and the Christians might not be able to carry them 
off. Several, however, approached in the darkness and implored the 
help of God with great fervor; their prayers were heard. The night 
was very dark and a violent thunderstorm with rain dispersed the guards, 
The faithful distinguished the three bodies by a miraculous star or ray 
of light that streamed on each of them. They joyfully carried off the 
precious treasures and hid them in a hollow cave in the neighboring 
mountains, where the governor was not able, by any search that he could 
make, to find them. ED. 

1 At present Sisek, or Sisseg, a town situated two leagues from Zagrab, 
in Croatia. The episcopal see of Siscia has been transferred to Zagrab. 

* Matt. x. 23. 

248 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

thee in all places, and that thy God cannot save thee 
from our hands?" Quirinus: "I know this, that our 
God is with us, and can succor us in all places. He it 
is that grants me strength in this my decrepit age, and 
will also uphold me during thy tortures." 

Maximus: "Thou speakest much because thou art an 
old man, and hopest to baffle us with talk; we require 
thy submission, not thy exhortations; there shall be no 
further toleration for Christians in the empire. The 
emperor has ordered that all shall sacrifice to the gods 
on pain of death; obey therefore." Quirinus: "I cannot 
obey orders that are contrary to my religion. How can I 
refuse to obey God, in order to please men ?" Maximus: 
"Dotard ! hadst thou not lived so long, thou wouldst not 
have learned such idle talk obey the emperor, and learn 
to be wise, even at the close of thy days." Quirinus: 
"Dost thou then think it wisdom to commit such an act 
of impiety?" Maximus: " No more words choose to be 
a priest of Jupiter, or to die amid torments." Quirinus: 
"I have already made my choice, and I now exercise the 
functions of a priest, in offering myself as a sacrifice to 
my God, and esteem myself happy in being, at the same 
time, the priest and the victim." 

Maximus, unwilling to hear him any longer, caused 
him to be cruelly scourged. The holy bishop, during 
the infliction, raised his eyes to heaven, and returned 
thanks to God. Then, turning towards Maximus, he 
said that he was willing to suffer still greater torments, 
in order to give a good example to his followers; but 
the lieutenant, fearing that he might expire under the 
lash, sent him back to prison. 

St. Quirinus, upon his arrival, again thanked God for 
what he had suffered, and prayed that those who were 
in prison might be illuminated by the light of the true 
faith. About midnight the martyr was seen surrounded 
by a great light, whereupon the jailer, named Marcel- 

CHAP. Lv.i >SV. Oitirinns, Bis/iop of Siscia. 249 

lus, casting himself at the feet of the saint, exclaimed: 
" Servant of God, pray to him for me, since I believe 
that there is no other God than he whom thoif adorest." 
St. Quirinus, having instructed him in the faith, as well 
as the time would permit, baptized him. 

At the expiration of three days he was sent, loaded 
with chains, to Amantius, the governor of the greater 
Pannonia, which is now called Hungary. On his way 
thither he was confined at Sabadia, where he was visited 
by some Christian women, who brought him food; and 
while the saint was blessing it, the chains fell from his 
hands and feet, as the Lord wished to show, by this sign, 
his approval of the charity done to the venerable prelate. 

Upon his arrival the governor had him brought before 
him, and, having read the proceedings of his former trial ? 
endeavored to shake his resolution by threatening to put 
him to a most cruel death, notwithstanding his most 
advanced age. The saint replied that the recollection 
of his old age should the more induce him to despise 
death, as he had but a short time to live; and Amantius 
despairing of being able to change him, ordered him to 
be cast into the river Sabarius, with a mill-stone tied to 
his neck. 

While the saint was being led to the bridge, a great 
concourse of people had assembled. They saw him cast 
into the river, together with the mill-stone; but both 
were seen to float upon the surface of the water; whence 
the holy bishop commenced to exhort the faithful to 
remain firm in the faith, and, as he continued to preach 
thus for a considerable time, many pagans were con 
verted. At last the saint made the following prayer: 
"Christ Jesus, my Saviour, these people have already 
seen the wonders of Thy power; grant me now the grace 
to die for Thee, nor permit me to lose the crown of 
martyrdom." His body then sank, together with the 
stone, and lie thus rendered his soul to God on the 4th 

250 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

June, in the beginning of the fourth century. His death 
is placed by St. Jerome in the year 310, and by Baronius 

The body of Saint Quirinus was afterwards translated 
to Rome, and buried near the catacombs of St. Sebastian; 
but Pope Innocent II. finally deposited it in the church 
of St. Mary beyond the Tiber. 



February 3. 

ST. BLASE was a native of the city of Sebaste, in 
Armenia, and in his younger days applied himself to the 
study of philosophy, in which he made considerable 
progress; he afterwards studied medicine with great 
success. The science of the saints, however, and a desire 
to improve in the love of God, occupied his principal 
attention, whereby being inflamed with an ardent charity 
towards the poor, he went frequently to relieve them in 
their sickness. Upon the death of the bishop, his fellow- 
citizens unanimously elected him their pastor, by reason 
of his extraordinary virtues and great learning. 

He accepted the office, as being unwilling to resist the 
will of God, which appeared too manifest in his election 
to be mistaken; but in the government of his church he 
lost not that spirit of holy retirement which he had had 
from his youth. He therefore retired to Mount Argeus, 
without the city, and dwelt in a cave there. 1 During 

1 The holy bishop retired, however, only when he was obliged to do so 
on account of the persecution, following in this the counsel and example 
of the divine Master. This we find in his office as well as in the Acts 
collected by the Bollandists. ED. 

CHAP. LVI.] St. Blase, Bishop of Sebaste. 251 

our saint s residence in this place the Lord was pleased 
to manifest his sanctity by honoring him with the gift of 
miracles, and numerous crowds of persons used constant 
ly to come to him for the cure of their bodily diseases 
as well as of their spiritual maladies. Even the most 
ferocious animals are said to have proceeded to his cave 
to be relieved. If they found the saint in prayer, they 
would patiently wait until he had done; nor would they 
depart until they had received his blessing. 1 

About the year 315, Agricolaus, governor of Cappa- 
docia and the lesser Armenia, had been sent, by the 
Emperor Licinius, to Sebaste, to put to death the Chris- 

1 Four different manuscript acts of this saint have been published by 
Bollandus, who observes that the first, which was found in a monastery 
of Canons Regular, is of very great antiquity. These four MSS. agree 
in the leading facts, and all mention the circumstance of the beasts visit 
ing our saint and being blessed by him. The MS. III. compares St. 
Blase, in this respect, to Daniel in the den of lions, and to Elias in the 
wilderness, and MS. IV., which was in the possession of Cardinal 
Baronius, observes that, as the prophet was fed by ravens, so our saint 
was supplied with food by the wild beasts that frequented his cave. As 
it was the sin of man that first rendered animals savage towards him, it 
has been regarded as a proof of the innocence and sanctity of a person 
to find wild beasts inoffensive and familiar with him; and several 
instances of this mark of holiness are to be met with in the " Lives of 
the Saints." The blessing of those beasts by St. Blase will remind some 
readers of the ceremony still performed at Rome, on St. Anthony s day, 
1 7th January, when horses and other useful animals are assembled 
before the church, and blessed. This ceremony has been the subject of 
much unbecoming and inconsiderate ridicule, for it should be remem 
bered that, in the beginning, the Almighty Creator himself blessed all 
his creatures; and, after the fall of man, pronounced a curse upon the 
earth. It is to avert as much as possible the effects of this maledic 
tion that we pray for the giving and preserving of the fruits of the 
earth, and for the well-being of those animals that God has created for 
our benefit, and for the manifestation of his own almighty power. Yet 
the man who, with scrupulous punctuality, says grace before meat, and 
implores the blessing of heaven on the roasted ribs of an ox upon his 
table, will ridicule the benediction invoked over the living animal, when 
standing at the foot of the Esquiline! ED. 

252 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

tians of that city; and, immediately upon his arrival, 
commenced to put his bloody commission into execution, 
by commanding that all those who had been already im 
prisoned for the faith should be devoured by wild beasts. 
He accordingly sent huntsmen into the neighboring 
forest to catch the ferocious animals, in order to execute 
his barbarous design. When they arrived at Mount 
Argeus, they found a multitude of these beasts assem 
bled round the cave of St. Blase, and the holy bishop 
in the midst of them, performing his devotions. Aston 
ished at this sight, they returned to Agricolaus, and in 
formed him of the fact; which, although it caused him 
to marvel greatly, did not prevent him from sending his 
soldiers to arrest our saint. When they intimated to 
him the order of the governor he answered with a cheer 
ful countenance: "Let us go to shed our blood for 
Jesus Christ;" then turning to those who stood by, he 
protested that he had long sighed for the honor of 
martyrdom, and that on the preceding night the Lord 
had manifested to him that he would vouchsafe to accept 
the sacrifice of his life. 

As soon as the news was spread among the citizens 
that their bishop was being led to Sebaste by order of 
the governor the streets were filled with people who. 
with tears in their eyes, asked his blessing. Among the 
rest was a woman, who, weeping bitterly, presented to 
him her child, who was expiring by reason of a small 
bone having stuck in his throat; full of holy confidence, 
she besought the saint to save his life. St. Blase, moved 
to compassion by the tears of the afflicted mother, prayed 
to the Lord not only for the relief of that child, but of 
all those who would find themselves similarly afflicted. 
Having terminated his prayer the child perfectly re 
covered; and hence the origin of the peculiar devotion 
of the faithful to this saint when afflicted with diseases 
of the throat. 

CHAP. LVI.] .SV. Blase, Bishop of Scbaste. 253 

When St. Blase arrived at the city and was presented 
to the governor, he was commanded to sacrifice to the 
immortal gods. The saint answered: " What a title for 
your demons, who can bring only evil on their worship 
pers ! There is only ONE Immortal God, and him do I 
adore." Agricolaus, infuriated at this answer, caused 
the saint to undergo a scourging so prolonged and cruel 
that it was thought the saint could not possibly survive 
it; but having endured this torture with placid courage, 
he was sent to prison, where he continued to work mir 
acles so extraordinary that the governor ordered him to 
be again lacerated with iron hooks. 

The blood of the saint ran profusely, and certain pious 
women were induced to collect portions of it, which act 
of devotion was amply rewarded, for they were seized, 
with two of their children, and brought before the gover 
nor. He commanded them to sacrifice to the gods under 
pain of death. The holy women asked for their idols, as 
some thought, to sacrifice to them, but they no sooner 
laid hands upon them than they cast them into an ad 
joining lake, for which they were instantly beheaded, 
along with their children. 

Agricolaus resolved to wreak his vengeance on St. Blase; 
and ..ot content with the torture which he had already 
caused him to endure, commanded him to be stretched 
upon the rack, and his flesh to be torn with iron combs, 
in which state a red-hot coat of mail was placed upon 
him. Finally, the tyrant, despairing of overcoming his 
constancy, ordered him to be cast into the lake; the 
saint, arming himself with the sign of the cross, walked 
upon the waters, and, arriving at the middle, sat down, 
and invited the idolaters to do the same if they believed 
that their gods could enable them. Some were so rash 
as to make the attempt, but were immediately drowned. 

St. Blase was admonished then by a voice from heaven 
to go forth from the lake and encounter his martyrdom. 

254 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

When he reached the land the impious tyrant ordered 
him to be beheaded. This sentence was executed in the 
year 313. The republic of Ragusa honor him as their 
principal patron, and he is the titular saint of many 



October 28. 

VALERIAN succeeded to the empire on the death of 
Gallus, in the year 244, and in the beginning of his reign 
showed himself so favorable to the Christians, that many 
of them were employed at his court; but his subsequent 
cruelty towards them was as remarkable as his former 
clemency. A certain Egyptian magician succeeded in 
ingratiating himself into the emperor s confidence; and 
as many Christians, by the sign of the cross, were en 
abled to destroy his demoniacal incantations, the favor 
ite stimulated Valerian to undertake the destruction of 
the Christian religion, towards the close of the year 247. 

St. Anastasia was a Roman virgin of noble and Chris 
tian parentage; and, although endowed with extraordi 
nary beauty, manifested from her tenderest years a desire 
to be espoused to Jesus Christ only. She accordingly 
led a most holy life, without any other desire than to in 
crease in the divine love. There was at Rome a nunnery 
governed by a most holy lady named Sophia, the in 
mates of which lived in the greatest Christian perfection 
and among these St. Anastasia enrolled herself, in order 
to make still further progress in virtue. The devil left 
no means untried in order to tempt her to abandon her 
holy design; but, by the assistance of continual prayer, 

CHAP. LVII.] St. Anastasia, Virgin. 255 

she overcame these temptations, and thus rendered her 
self more perfect, and more intimately united to Jesus 

No sooner were the edicts of Valerian published 
against the Christians than his emissaries began a most 
searching inquisition. They discovered the residence 
of Anastasia, who, by reason of her exemplary life, had 
acquired great reputation for sanctity amongst the 
faithful; and accordingly, an officer, accompanied by a 
band of soldiers, having proceeded to the monastery, 
broke open the doors, and in the name of Probus, Pre 
fect of Rome, demanded that Anastasia should be given 
up to them. Hereupon the good Sophia hastened to 
animate her disciple in the following terms: " Behold, 
my daughter, the time hath arrived when the Spouse 
calleth thee. Go, and offer thyself as a sacrifice of love 
to him who for thee offered himself upon the cross. 
Be strong and fear not; make it appear that thou art 
worthy of such a spouse." 

The young virgin was forthwith brought before Pro- 
bus, who, admiring her wonderful beauty, spoke to her 
with much affability, and inquired her name. She re 
plied: " My name is Anastasia, and I have the happi 
ness to be a Christian." "This," said the prefect, u is 
a bad recommendation; it overshadows thy prospects, 
and I would, therefore, recommend thee to abandon so 
odious a religion. I intend to render thee perfectly 
happy; but, to this end, thou must come with me to 
the temple, and offer sacrifice to Jove; but, if thou wilt 
not obey, know that the most cruel torments await 
thee." The saint replied: "I shall rather await these 
torments, and I am ready to suffer them for the love of 
God. Thy promises and thy threats are equally in 
effectual; for the Almighty God, whom I adore, will 
give me strength to resist both." 

At these words, so resolutely uttered, the prefect 

256 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI 

became greatly exasperated, and commanded the saint 
to be buffeted upon the face; which was done with such 
violence that she was covered with blood, and in this 
state was sent back to prison. Here she manifested so 
much holy joy, that the tyrant s fury knew no bounds; 
he commanded that she should be tortured by the dis 
location of all her limbs, and that her sides should be 
burned with lighted torches. This infliction was en 
dured by the saint without a moan, and with so serene 
a countenance, that the prefect, perceiving that torture 
and fire moved her not, commanded the nails to be torn 
from her fingers, her teeth to be broken with a hammer, 
and her breasts to be pulled off with iron pincers. In 
the order of nature, she should have expired under 
these tortures; but the Lord so upheld her that she did 
nothing but bless his holy name, and upon being 
brought back to prison, all her wounds were miracu 
lously cured. 

Probus having heard this, and being informed, more 
over, that the saint called his gods "gods of wood, of 
clay, and of metal," ordered her tongue to be pulled 
out by the roots. The holy virgin, upon hearing the 
cruel command, began to thank the Lord, and to sing 
his praises. The operation filled the spectators with 
horror, and a torrent of blood proceeded from her 
mouth, which completely stained her clothes. Finding 
herself ready to faint after the infliction, she made signs 
to a certain Christian, named Cyril, to give her some 
water; he complied, and this act of charity earned for 
him the crown of martyrdom. 

Notwithstanding the loss of her tongue, St. Anastasia 
ceased not to bless the Lord, and implore of him help 
to consummate her sacrifice. In these prayers she fre 
quently raised her hands to heaven, which so annoyed 
the tyrant that, in addition to her other torments, he 
had her hands and feet cut off, and finally ordered her 

CHAP. Lvni.] St. Victor and Companions. 257 

to be beheaded. Thus did this glorious saint enter the 
kingdom of Jesus Christ, with as many merits as she 
had suffered tortures for his sake. 

The above-mentioned Cyril was also beheaded at the 
same time, which was on the 2yth or 28th of October, 
about the year 249. 

Surius adds, that the good Sophia, having heard the 
glorious end of her novice, procured the body; and 
with the assistance of two pious persons, buried it with 
out the city. 1 



July 21. 

DURING the reign of the Emperor Maximilian the 
Christian religion was extensively propagated at Mar 
seilles; in consequence of which this notable enemy of 
the faithful caused a great slaughter of them upon his 
arrival in that city. Among these was St. Victor, a 
military officer, and so good a Christian that he let no 
opportunity pass of animating the faithful, and exhort 
ing them to suffer every torture, rather than abandon 
the religion of Jesus Christ. To this end he frequently 
visited them in their houses by night. 

His zealous conduct could not long remain concealed, 
and he was soon arrested and brought before the pre 
fects of the city, Asterius and Eutychius, who told him 
that they would obtain his pardon if he would consent 
to sacrifice to the gods, and exhorted him not to lose 

1 St. Anastasia, virgin, is often called the Elder, to distinguish her 
from St. Anastasia, widow. As to her relics, see note, page 174. ED. 

258 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i 

his past services by being the follower of a dead man, 
as was Jesus Christ. Victor answered that the gods of 
the pagans were none other than devils, who deserved 
only contempt. He added, that he gloried in being a 
follower of that " dead man," Jesus Christ, who being 
the Son of God, became man, for the salvation of the 
world; but who, in doing so, did not cease to be God, 
since by his own power he rose again on the third day, 
and ascended into heaven, where he reigns with his 
Father. The pagans hearing these things, which they 
imagined to be fables, commenced to deride him; but 
Victor being a nobleman, the prefects forwarded his 
case to the emperor for judgment. 

Maximilian endeavored to intimidate him by threats; 
but finding that Victor disregarded them, he com 
manded that he should be bound hand and foot, and 
dragged through the streets of the city. When the 
saint was brought back to the prefects all torn and cov 
ered with blood, they thought that he had been daunted 
by the torture already suffered, and used all their exer 
tions to make him renounce Jesus Christ ; representing 
to him the good fortune he might enjoy by complying 
with the will of the emperor, and the evils which would 
be the consequence of his disobedience ; but Victor, 
even more courageously than before, replied : " I have 
committed no crime against the emperor, nor have I 
failed to serve him when it was a duty. I, moreover, 
pray every day for his salvation ; but how can it be ex 
pected that I will bring damnation upon myself by pre 
ferring temporal to eternal things? Would I not be 
truly mad to prefer the insignificant and transitory 
goods of fortune, to those which are immensely greater 
and never end ? Is it not reasonable that I should think 
less of the emperor s favor than of the favor of that 
God who created me, and prepared for me an eternal 
felicity? As for the tortures which you threaten, I re- 

CHAP. LVIII.T St. Victor and Companions. 259 

gard them rather as so many favors conferred upon me, 
since they are likely to free me from eternal torments ; 
the death which is being prepared shall be to me the 
entrance into life everlasting. Should I not be sup 
posed to have lost my senses, were I to prefer your 
gods, who are only demons, to my God, the living and 
the true ? 

The saint spoke at some length of the evidences of the 
Christian religion, the glories of Jesus Christ, and the 
many miracles wrought by him when on earth ; but the 
prefects, unwilling to hear him further, interrupted him, 
saying : " Now, Victor, thy words are of no avail ; either 
choose to appease our offended deities, or to end thy 
days by an ignominious death." Victor answered : 
"Since this is your decision, let the tortures be pre 
pared. I despise your gods, and adore Jesus Christ." 

The prefects disputed amongst themselves for some 
time regarding the torments to which they would sub 
ject the saints ; but it was finally resolved that he 
should undergo a long and painful torture suggested by 
Asterius, during which Jesus Christ appearing to him, 
said : " Be of good courage, Victor, I am with thee in 
the combat, to help thee, and shall be with thee in 
heaven to reward thee after thy triumph." The saint, 
consoled by this vision, endured his torments with a 
serene countenance, rendered thanks to God ; and, after 
the executioners had exhausted their strength, was cast 
into a dark dungeon, whither there came angels to con 
sole him, with whom he chanted the divine praises. 
The guards seeing the place filled with a heavenly 
light, cast themselves at the feet of the saint, and re 
quested him to baptize them ; these guards were named 
Alexander, Longinus, and Felicianus. The saint in 
structed them as well as time would permit, and in the 
course of the night they were baptized by a priest, for 
whom he had sent. 

260 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

On the day following, the conversion of the three 
guards having been made public, the emperor ordered 
Victor to be again tortured ; and the guards, having 
remained faithful to the religion which they had em 
braced, were beheaded. 

Victor having undergone the tortures, was brought 
before an altar of Jove, and commanded to sacrifice ; 
but he threw it down with his foot, which was instantly 
cut off by order of the emperor. A mill-stone was then 
placed upon him, by which he was greatly bruised and 
crushed, but it broke to pieces before the saint expired, 
and his head was accordingly struck off. At the mo 
ment of his death a voice was heard from heaven, say 
ing: "Victor, thou hast conquered !" ] 

The tyrant commanded that the bodies of the mar 
tyrs should be cast into the sea ; but God so disposed 
it that they were cast ashore upon the opposite side of 
the port, so that the Christians were enabled to recover 
them, and place them in a grotto, where the Lord was 
pleased to honor them with many miracles. 2 

1 Victor in Latin signifies a conqueror. 

2 These holy relics were preserved at Marseilles in the cathedral 
church and in that of St. Victor, till the revolution of 1793, the sac 
rilegious deeds of which deprived the Church of this treasure as well 
as of many others. Two celebrated abbeys bore the name of St. Vic 
tor : one of the Benedictines at Marseilles, erected at the beginning 
of the fifth century on the tomb of the glorious martyrs by the illus 
trious abbot John Cassian ; the other of the regular Canons at Paris, 
where two distinguished authors lived, often cited by St. Alphonsus, 
namely, Hugo of St. Victor, a Belgian, and his disciple Richard, a 
Scotchman. ED. 

CHAP. LIX.] SS. Peter and Companions. 261 



March 12 and September 9. 

DIOCLETIAN having been greatly alarmed by a fire 
breaking out in 303 in his palace at Nicomedia, was told 
by some malevolent persons that the disaster had been 
caused by the Christians, who, it was said, intended to 
burn him alive. The emperor accordingly determined 
to exterminate them from the empire, and forthwith 
sent orders to all the governors that they should put to 
death all the Christians of their respective jurisdiction, 
without any exception whatever, and this on pain of los 
ing not only their office, but their lives. 

Galerius, the son-in-law of Diocletian, being an im 
placable enemy of the Christians, caused the palace to be 
a second time set on fire, in order the more to incite the 
emperor against them; he, moreover, accused the Chris 
tian officers of the palace with being the authors of the 
fire, alleging that their intention was to destroy both the 
emperors, together with the household. Diocletian s 
rage knew no bounds; and the first victim was one of his 
chamberlains, a zealous Christian named Peter, who be 
ing commanded to sacrifice or lose his life, answered: " I 
would rather lose my life than my religion. How can it 
be expected that I should sacrifice to the devils, who are 
our enemies ?" Having said these words, he was hoisted 
in the air, and most cruelly scourged upon every part of 
the body; after which he was taken down, and vinegar 
and salt being rubbed into his torn flesh, he was roasted 
on a gridiron, in which torture the Christian hero ter 
minated his life. 

Diocletian was aware that the lord chamberlain Doro- 

262 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

theus, and Gorgonius, one of the principal officers of the 
household, were Christians; but as he loved them on ac 
count of their fidelity and virtue, he could not bring 
himself to condemn them to death. The two saints, 
however, had witnessed, and regarded with a kind of 
pious jealousy, the martyrdom of Peter; and finding 
themselves one day alone with the emperor, they re 
spectfully represented to him how much he had been 
imposed upon by those malevolent persons, who induced 
him to persecute the innocent. They continued: "What 
evil hath Peter done, my lord, to merit so cruel a death? 
True, he was a Christian; but what subjects are there in 
all the empire more faithful than the Christians? If to 
be so be considered a crime, we are willing to die for it. 
But it is no crime; on the contrary, we are obliged to 
adore the one only true God." 

After this protestation, Diocletian was wavering be 
tween his regard for the saints and his hatred of their 
faith: but Galerius soon caused the latter to prevail; 
and it was intimated to them that they should renounce 
their faith, or suffer death. Having refused to comply 
with the wishes of the emperor, they were scourged so 
cruelly, and their blood flowed so copiously, that the tor 
ture was suspended lest they should expire under it. 
However, as they were found yet alive, and firm in their 
resolution, they were roasted over a slow fire, upon a 
gridiron, and afterwards strangled. Thus on the Qth of 
September, in the year 302, did they consummate their 
sacrifice, a striking example of the love of God, and an 
acceptable holocaust to his honor. 

Their relics were subsequently brought to Rome, and 
buried on the Via Latina, whence they were translated 
by Pope Gregory IV. to St. Peter s Church, in the year 
764. Pope Paul the First granted the body of St. Gor 
gonius to the Bishop of Mentz, and it was again trans 
lated, in the year 1595, to Pont Mausson, where it still 

CHAP. LX.] SS. Timothy and Maura. 263 



UPON the death of the Emperor Diocletian, his succes 
sors Galerius and Maximilian continued the persecution 
against the Christians, and our saints were of the num 
ber of those who then obtained the crown of martyrdom. 
Timothy was a native of the town of Perapus in The- 
bais, and was so exemplary a Christian that his bishop or 
dained him lector. He was married to a Christian lady 
named Maura, only seventeen years of age; and the mar 
riage had been solemnized but three weeks, when Ari- 
anus, the governor of the province, issued an order for 
the arrest of Timothy, who had been represented to him 
as one of the greatest enemies of the gods. When the 
latter was presented, Arianus said to him: "Art thou 
not aware of the edicts of the emperors against those who 
refuse to sacrifice to the idols?" Timothy answered: "I 
am aware of them, but will rather lay down my life than 
commit such an act of impiety." "Then," said the gov 
ernor, "we shall put thee to the torture, and hear how 
thou wilt speak during the infliction." The saint reso 
lutely refused to comply, and the barbarous tyrant caused 
burning irons to be put into his ears, until the violence 
of the pain caused his eyes to start from their sockets. 

After this horrible torture Timothy commenced to 
return thanks to the Lord; whereupon the tyrant, more 
infuriated than before, ordered him to be suspended by 
the feet, with a large stone tied to his neck, and a kind 
of bridle on his mouth to prevent him from speaking. 
Seeing, however, that torments had no effect upon Tim 
othy, he sent for Maura, and told her that she alone 

264 Martyrs of t lie First Ages. [PART :. 

could save her husband from death, as by her tears she 
might induce him to sacrifice to the gods. She went 
accordingly to the place, and seeing him in so piteous a 
condition, endeavored to induce him to abandon the 
faith. Timothy, whose mouth had been unbridled that 
he might answer his wife, replied: " How is it possible, 
O Maura, that, being thyself a Christian, instead of ani 
mating me to die for the faith, thou dost tempt me to 
abandon it; and thus, to obtain a short and miserable 
existence here, expose myself to the never-ending pains 
of hell? Is this, then, thy love?" 

Maura was instantly converted by this rebuke ; and, 
casting herself on her knees, besought Jesus Christ, 
with many penitent tears, to forgive her. She then 
asked pardon of her husband, and exhorted him to re 
main firm in his profession of faith, expressing at the 
same time a desire to sacrifice her life in atonement for 
her fault, and be the happy companion of his martyr 
dom. Timothy, much consoled by the repentance of 
his wife, told her that her last words had caused him to 
forget his past sufferings, and that she should forthwith 
return to the governor to retract her first step, and to 
express her desire of dying for Jesus Christ. Maura at 
first was afraid to trust her own weakness ; but Tim 
othy prayed for her so effectually, that the Lord granted 
her grace and strength to execute the orders of her 
pious husband. 

The governor, surprised at her sudden change, en 
deavored to dissuade her from her holy purpose, by 
promising to obtain for her an advantageous match 
upon her husband s death, but Maura replied that after 
his death she would have no other spouse than Jesus 
Christ. Hereupon Arianus caused her hair to be vio 
lently pulled out and her fingers cut off ; after which 
she was immersed in a caldron of boiling water, from 
which, however, she came out uninjured. Arianus was 

CHAP. LXI.] ,SV. Si.rtits and Companions. 265 

much affected by this miracle, and it contributed much 
to his conversion, which happened a few days after. 
Before the martyrdom of the saints, however, he had 
not that happiness ; and, lest he should be remiss in 
executing the orders of the emperor, he caused the 
saint to be tortured with burning sulphur and pitch, 
after which she was sentenced to be crucified, together 
with her husband. 

While she was proceeding to the place of execution, 
her mother, shedding many tears, embraced her ; but 
the saint, freeing herself from her parent s embrace, 
hastened to the cross. The husband and wife were 
crucified one opposite to the other ; and in order that 
their agonies might be prolonged, they were not 
strangled. They continued to live in this state for some 
days, during which time they ceased not to bless the 
Lord, and to encourage each other with the hope that 
they would soon be united to Jesus Christ in heaven. 
These two saints obtained the crown of their glorious 
martyrdom on the iQt h December, in the beginning of 
the fourth century. 

Their festival is kept by the Greeks, and also by the 
Muscovites. There was a church at Constantinople 
dedicated to God in honor of these martyrs. 




August 6, 9, and 10. 

FROM the sacramentary of St. Leo it would appear 
that St. Laurence was by birth a Roman citizen, but 
was probably a Spaniard by descent ; yet some authors 

266 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

state that he was born in Spain, and that he came to 
Rome when very young. St. Peter Chrysologus ob 
serves, that though poor in earthly possessions, he was 
rich in heavenly gifts, for which reason Pope St. Sixtus 
conceived a great affection for him, and not only re 
garded him as one of his most beloved disciples, but 
promoted him to deacon s orders, placed him over seven 
other deacons, and appointed him his treasurer and 

The Emperor Valerian was, at the beginning of his 
reign, rather favorable to the Christians, but in the 
year 258 he raised a fierce persecution against them, 
which was particularly directed against the bishops and 
clergy. St. Sixtus was accordingly one of the first who 
was arrested ; as he was preparing to celebrate the 
divine mysteries in the cemetery of Calixtus, he was 
loaded with chains and conducted to prison. St. Lau 
rence, having heard of his arrest, went to see him, and 
as St. Ambrose relates, 1 addressed him in the following 
manner : " Whither dost thou go, Father, without thy 
deacon ? What hast thou seen in me to displease thee, 
and which could induce thee to abandon me ? Dost 
thou doubt me ; let me have some trial before I am 
thus cast off ?" St. Sixtus replied : " No, my son, I 
abandon thee not ; a trial greater than mine,, in testi 
mony of the faith of Jesus Christ, awaits thee. The 
Lord, in consideration of the weakness of my age, ex 
poses me to a less arduous struggle ; but greater tor 
ments and a more glorious victory are reserved for 
thee. Go ; and instantly distribute amongst the poor 
the treasures of the church, and prepare thyself for 
martyrdom." St. Laurence, inflamed as he was with 
the desire of martyrdom, received great consolation 
from these words, and lost no time disposing of the 
sacred vessels and vestments of the church, and dis- 

1 DC Ojficiis, 1. I, c. 41. 

CHAP. LXI.] St. Sixtus and Companions. 267 

tributing the money among the poor. He then returned 
to the prison, to visit the Holy Father, and finding him 
about to be led to the place of execution to be beheaded, 
he informed him that he had complied with his orders, 
and casting himself at his feet, implored his benedic 
tion, in the hope of shortly following his footsteps. St. 
Sixtus was beheaded, August 6, in the year 258. 

The prefect of Rome, having been informed that St. 
Laurence held the property of the church, sent for him, 
and required him to deliver it up, alleging that the 
emperor needed it for the payment of the army. The 
saint composedly replied that he should be allowed some 
time, and that he would then show him how rich the 
church was. Within eight days the saint was enabled 
to assemble all the poor who had received succor from 
the church funds, and going to the prefect said to him: 
"Come, and thou shalt see the treasures of our church." 
The prefect, finding only an assemblage of paupers, 
looked furiously upon the holy deacon, who said to him: 
"My lord, thou art angered; but remember, that silver 
and gold and precious stones are but dross extracted 
from the earth, but the riches of the Christians are the 
poor, whom the property of the Church supports." The 
prefect, finding his avarice baffled by the saint, com 
manded him to renounce Jesus Christ; and finding his 
faith immovable, ordered that he should be scourged 
with rods as a slave. At the same time he was threat 
ened with greater torments unless he consented to sacri 
fice to the gods; but Laurence protested that he was 
willing to undergo any punishment rather than worship 
deities who were worthy of nothing but contempt. The 
prefect then sent him to prison, in charge of Hippolytus, 
an officer of the guards. Hippolytus was struck with 
the intrepidity, the conduct, and the language of the 
saint, and began to conceive a species of veneration for 
him, but the miracles which lie subsequently wrought in 

268 Martyrs of Ike / f V/\\7 Ages. IPART i. 

prison affected his conversion. Amongst these was the 
cure of a blind man named Lucillus, whose sight was 
restored by the saint s touching his eyes; upon witness 
ing this miracle, Hippolytus requested to be baptized. 

On the following day the prefect summoned the saint 
before him, and endeavored by promises and threats to 
make him renounce Jesus Christ. All his exertions 
proving useless, he commanded him to be stretched 
upon the rack until all his bones were dislocated, and 
his llesh to be torn by scourges armed with iron points. 
The saint believed that he was about to expire under 
this torture, Tor he prayed to the Lord to receive his 
soul; but he heard a voice which intimated to him that 
his triumph was not yet complete, and that other tortures 
were reserved for him. It is recorded by some writers 
that this voice was heard by all, even the prefect, who 
exclaimed: "Heed not the voice of the demons who 
wait upon this sorcerer." At the same, a soldier named 
Romanus saw an angel in the form of a beautiful youth, 
who wiped away the blood which Mowed from the wounds 
of the holy martyr, ami being converted by this vision, 
approached St. Laurence, and intimated to him his desire 
to be baptized. The saint could not then comply with 
his wish; but the emperor, understanding that Laurence 
still persisted, ordered that he should be sent to prison, 
and there undergo still greater tortures. 

Romanus procured a vessel of water, and entering the 
prison of St. Laurence received the necessary instruc 
tions, the sacrament of regeneration, and exhortations to 
prepare himself for martyrdom, which he received with 
great joy on the 9th of August, the day immediately 
preceding the triumph of our saint. 

The prefect again summoned Laurence to his presence, 
and asked him: "Why dost thou so insolently despise 
our gods ?" The saint replied: " Because they are false 
gods; reason itself dictates that the true God can be 

CHAP. LXI.] Si. Sixtiis and Companions. 269 

only one." Upon these words the tyrant caused his 
jaws to be broken by blows of a stone, and ordered him 
to be stretched upon a red-hot gridiron, under which a 
slow fire was placed, in order that his torture might be 
the more prolonged and painful. But these cruel tor 
ments seemed only to inc rease the intrepidity of the 
saint, who, perceiving that one side was completely 
roasted, said to the tyrant: "If thou wilt feed upon my 
flesh, thou mayest turn me and eat, as one side is done." 
He then raised his eyes to heaven, and manifesting the 
joy with which he died, placidly rendered his soul to 
God, on the loth of August, in the year 258. 

Hippolytus and a priest named Justin took his body 
and buried it in a cave in Agro Verano; upon the spot 
a famous church was afterwards erected. Indeed, there 
are innumerable churches dedicated to God in his honor 
throughout Christendom; almost all the holy Fathers 
have celebrated his triumph, and Prudentius 1 attributes 
the conversion of Rome principally to the martyrdom of 
this great saint. His name has been inserted in the 
Canon of the Mass. 3 

1 Pcristcph. hvnin . 3. 

- Alban Butler and Giry cite several churches in France that possessed, 
relics of St. Laurence, but it is probable that they possess them no 
longer in consequence of the outrages of the Calvinists of the i6th cen 
tury, and of the revolutionists of 1793. 

We read in the annals of Erstein. in Alsace, that the Empress Irmen- 
gard, the wife of Lothair I. , obtained from Pope Leo IV. , about the year 
850, the body of St. Sixtus 1 1., and that he had it buried in the abbey of 
Erstein, the church of which bore the name of this holy Pope. 

The relics of St. Romanus were transferred to Lucca, where they are 
kept under the high altar of the church that bears his name. ED. 

Martyr* of t/ic First Ages. [PART i. 



January 29 and June 18. 

THIS saint was born of Christian parents, who dwelt 
at Narbonne, in Languedoc, but were natives of Milan. 
St. Ambrose ] relates that, by reason of his extraordinary 
talents and exemplary conduct, our saint was much be 
loved by Diocletian, who appointed him captain of the 
first company of his guards. Sebastian employed the 
emoluments of his station in the relief of the poor; he 
was indefatigable in assisting his brother Christians, 
and particularly those who languished in prison, whom 
he not only relieved with alms, but encouraged to 
suffer for Jesus Christ. He was consequently con 
sidered the main prop of the persecuted faithful. 

At this time it happened that the two brothers, Mar 
cus and Marcellianus, Roman knights, who had suffered 
tortures with considerable constancy, were being led to 
death, when their father, Tarquillinus, and their mother, 
Marcia, accompanied by the wives and children of the 
two confessors, obtained from the judge, Cromatius, by 
tears and entreaties, that the sentence should be de 
ferred for thirty days. It is easy to imagine what wail- 
ings and entreaties were used by their relatives during 
the respite in order to induce the two brothers to pre 
varicate; indeed, they were so importunate and unceas 
ing, that they who had already confessed the faith be 
gan now to vacillate. But Sebastian, knowing them, 
ran instantly to their assistance, and God s blessing so 

1 Ada .V. Scbasl. ufml ttoll. 

CHAP. LXII.] St. Sebastian and Companions. 271 

accompanied his words, that he induced them to receive 
with joy a most cruel death; for they were obliged to 
hang nailed by the feet to a gallows for a day and a 
night before they were transfixed with a lance. Nor 
was this all: the zealous captain likewise converted to 
the faith not only all the above-named relatives of Mar 
cus and Marcellianus, but also Nicostratus, an officer of 
Cromatius, Claudius, the provost of the prison, and 
sixty-four prisoners, who were idolaters. 

But the most remarkable conversion was that of Cro- 
matius himself, who, hearing that Tarquillinus had em 
braced the faith, sent for him and said: "Hast thou 
then turned mad in the last days of thy life ?" The 
good old man replied: " On the contrary, by embracing 
the Christian faith I have become wise, for it is wisdom 
to prefer an everlasting life to the few wretched days 
that await me in this world." He then persuaded him 
to have an interview with St. Sebastian, who quickly 
persuaded him of the truth of the Christian religion; 
and Cromatius, having received baptism, with his en 
tire family, and one thousand four hundred slaves, to 
whom he granted their freedom, renounced his office, 
and retired to his country house. 

Fabian, the successor of Cromatius, having learned 
that Sebastian not only exhorted the Christians to re 
main steadfast in the faith, but procured also the con 
version of the pagans, reported the fact to the emperor, 
who sent for our saint, and upbraided him with the 
crime of perverting his subjects. Sebastian answered 
that he considered he was rendering the greatest pos 
sible service to the emperor, since the state benefited by 
having Christian subjects, whose fidelity to their sover 
eign is proportionate to their devotedness to Jesus 
Christ. The emperor, enraged at this reply, ordered 
that the saint should be instantly tied to a post, and 
that a body of archers should discharge their arrows 

2 , 2 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

upon him. The sentence was immediately executed, 
and Sebastian was. left for dead ; but a holy widow, 
named Irene, went at night to bury him, and finding 
him yet alive, brought him to her house, where he re 
covered. After this the saint went to the emperor, and 
said to him : " How long, O Prince, wilt thou believe 
the calumnies that have been spread against the Chris 
tians ? I have returned to tell thee again that thou 
hast not in the empire subjects more faithful than the 
Christians, who by their prayers obtain for thee all thy 

Diocletian, surprised to see the saint still living, ex 
claimed : " How is it that thou art yet alive ?" Sebas 
tian answered : " The Lord has been pleased to preserve 
my life that I might admonish thee of thy impiety in 
persecuting the Christians." 

The emperor, irritated at the admonition, ordered 
that the saint should be scourged to death. This sen 
tence being executed, he expired on the 2oth January, 
about the year 228. 

The pagans threw the body of the martyr into a 
marsh, but a holy lady named Lucina caused it to be 
taken thence, and buried it at the entrance of a ceme 
tery which is now called the " Catacombs of St. Sebas 



March 17 and August 8. 

THE vanity of the Emperor Diocletian incited him to 
build a palace which would be one of the wonders of 
the world ; and in truth he succeeded in erecting at 

CHAP. LXIII.I St. Cyriacus and Companions. 273 

Rome a stupendous fabric, where he placed the baths, 
afterwards called " Le Terme Diocleziane," the vestiges 
of which are still visible. Amongst the many punish 
ments which the intense hatred of this emperor directed 
against the Christians was that of obliging them to as 
sist in the erection of this palace. Multitudes of them 
were there to be seen rolling stones, digging the foun 
dations, and carrying lime and water ; and as his bar 
barous intention was to make them die of fatigue, they 
were obliged to labor unceasingly, and without suffi 
cient food. 

An opulent and noble Roman, named Thraso, who 
privately practised the Christian religion, regarding with 
compassion these confessors of Christ, employed three 
of his friends who were zealous Christians, namely, Cyri- 
acus, Largus, and Smaragdus, in relieving their necessi 
ties and in encouraging them to endure their trials for 
the love of Jesus Christ. Pope St. Marcellinus having 
been informed of their many acts of virtue, promoted 
Cyriacus to the order of deacon, in order that he might 
the more effectually carry on the holy work. 

The saints were ultimately detected carrying food to 
the Christians, and were immediately arrested and con 
demned to labor at the building ; but here they so dis 
tinguished themselves by their charity and zeal, that 
they were accused before Maximian, the colleague of 
Diocletian, who being no less cruel, caused them to be 
arrested and led to prison, where the Lord wrought 
many miracles by them. Some persons who had been 
blind recovered their sight when Cyriacus blessed them 
with the sign of the cross, and many others, afflicted with 
various diseases, came to the prison, and were by the 
same means restored to health. The saints availed 
themselves of these opportunities to inculcate the truths 
of Christianity, and induced many to embrace the faith. 

The fame of these miracles at last reached the court, 

274. Martyrs of the First Ages. LPART i. 

and a daughter of Diocletian, named Arthemia, being 
possessed by a devil, from which she suffered much, de 
clared that she could not be cured except through the 
intercession of the deacon Cyriacus. The emperor being 
induced by the great love which he bore his daughter, 
sent to the prison for Cyriacus, who, having prayed over 
the princess, and commanded the devil to depart from 
her, received the following answer : " I obey, because I 
cannot resist the power of Jesus Christ ; but I shall pro 
ceed to the court of the King of Persia." The saint 
observed: "All shall ultimately be to the glory of 
Christ, and to thy confusion." The young lady was im 
mediately freed from the evil spirit, and boldly mani 
fested her intention of becoming a Christian. 

Meanwhile the daughter of the King of Persia, named 
Jobia, was possessed by the same evil spirit, and ex 
claimed that she could not be relieved unless by the 
deacon Cyriacus, who was at Rome. The king immedi 
ately sent an ambassador to request of Diocletian that 
Cyriacus should be sent to him. The emperor accord 
ingly despatched the deacon and his two companions, 
and upon their arrival in Persia, Cyriacus declared to 
the king, that in order to see his daughter relieved from 
the evil spirit, he should embrace the faith of Jesus 
Christ. The king consented ; the princess was cured, 
and the monarch and his daughter, with four hundred 
pagans, received the sacrament of baptism. The king 
was desirous that the saints should remain in his domin 
ions ; but, anxious for the glory of martyrdom, they 
insisted upon returning to Rome. On their arrival there 
they labored indefatigably in assisting the persecuted 
Christians, and Diocletian tolerated their proceedings. 

When the emperor left Rome, his colleague, Maxim- 
ian, whose hatred to the Christians was ungovernable, 
caused our saints to be arrested, and intimated to his 
lieutenant, Carpasius, that they should either sacrifice, 

CHAC. LXIV.] St. Mammas and Companions. 275 

or be themselves sacrificed, to the gods. The saints ex 
pressed their horror at the proposal, and Cyriacus said : 
" How can we sacrifice to the gods, who are only demons 
of hell?" Carpasius caused boiling pitch to be poured 
upon his head, and then had him stretched upon a 
rack, and beaten with clubs ; but the saint suffered these 
tortures, not only with patience, but with thanks to Jesus 
Christ, who rendered him worthy to suffer these tortures 
for his sake. Maximian, perceiving that the heroism of 
the saints could not be overcome by tortures, caused 
them to be beheaded, with twenty other martyrs, on the 
i6th of March, in the year 303. 

Their bodies were buried near the place of their mar 
tyrdom, upon the road called Via Salaria, but those of 
our three saints were shortly afterwards translated by 
Pope St. Marcellus, to the farm of a Christian lady 
named Lucina, on the Ostian way. 




August 17 and 31. 

ST. MAMMAS was born in Paphlagonia, a town of Asia 
Minor, now called Bolli, and situated between Pontus 
Euxinus and Galatia. He was the son of Theodotus 
and Rufina, both noble and exemplary Christians. 1 The 

1 This is the account given by Surius, who quotes Metaphrastes ; but 
it is far more probable that our saint s parents, however virtuous, were 
poor. St. Gregory Nazianzen concludes one of his sermons with an al 
lusion to the saint, and calls him " the renowned Mammas, a shepherd 
and a martyr." St. Basil also has an admirable homily upon this blessed 
martyr, who seems to have been celebrated among the Greeks. The 

2/6 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

persecution against the Christians was raging in this 
province, and Theodotus was arrested and sent to prison 
by Alexander, the governor of the town, who, however, 
not having authority to inflict capital punishments, and 
fir ding Theodotus persevering in his profession of the 
faith, sent him to Faustus, governor of Caesarea, in Cap- 
padocia, whither Rufina, although pregnant, accompanied 
him. It was intimated to Theodotus, on being presented 
to the cruel Faustus, that he should either obey the em 
peror, or be prepared to undergo tortures that would 
finally cause his death. The pious confessor replied 
that it was his desire to die for Jesus Christ ; but being 
taken ill on account of the want of food and the fatigue 
of his journey, which was on foot, he was sent to prison, 
where he ended his days in a holy manner. Rufina was 
his companion in death, for she prematurely gave birth 
to her child, and died the day following. 

A rich and noble Christian widow, named Amya, while 
engaged in holy prayer, was favored with the vision of 
an angel, who intimated to her that she should take care 
of the orphan infant who was in prison, The good lady 
obtained from the governor a legal possession of the 
child, whom she called Mammas, at baptism. The boy, 
as he grew up, made considerable progress in human 
learning, but still greater in the science of the saints, and 

object of the homily is to show that poverty and humility constitute 
real glory ; and that, although custom may warrant the profane pane 
gyrist in extolling the character of a person by referring to the nobility 
of his birth and to the glorious achievements of his ancestors, yet the 
laws of truth shall forever prohibit us from praising any one except for 
his own virtues. The holy Father insists that our saint was but a poor 
shepherd, who could boast of no worldly distinction ; and indeed the 
reader is inclined to suspect that he was anxious to contradict some 
apocryphnl accounts that would attribute noble ancestry to St. Mam 
mas, for he emphatically says, " Yes, a shepherd ! Let us not be ashamed 
of the truth. Let us not imitate the profane writers of fable." St. Basil, 
horn, xxiii. in Mamant. martyr. 


. LXIV.I , C 7. Man:mas and Companions. 277 

a holy zeal for the advancement of the Christian relig 
ion; so much so, that at twelve years of age he under 
took the task of making converts to the faith of Jesus 
Christ. Meanwhile the good Amya died, leaving him 
heir to all her riches, which, however, he quickly dis 
tributed among the poor. Faustus also died, and was 
succeeded in the government by Democritus, an implac 
able enemy of the Christians, who arrived at Caesarea; 
and, having heard of the zeal and energy with which the 
young Mammas labored for the increase of the faithful, 
summoned him to his presence, and said: " How is it 
possible that, being so learned thou art anxious to follow 
the Christian sect, which is proscribed throughout the 
empire? Come with me to offer sacrifice at the temple 
of Jove, and I will not fail to use my interest with the 
emperor for thy advancement." The holy youth replied: 
" However grateful, my lord, for thy very kind opinion 
regarding my learning. I should feel myself unworthy of 
being esteemed wise were I to sacrifice to any creature, 
knowing as I do that there is but one only God. If I 
were to give the honors due to the emperor to one of his 
vassals, would I not become guilty of treason ? How 
then can I sacrifice to thy gods, who are none other than 
devils ?" 

Democritus, enraged at this answer, ordered Mammas 
to be put to the torture; but the saint observed that, 
being the adopted son of a noble woman, it was not in 
the governor s power to authorize the execution of such 
a sentence. Democritus therefore reported all the cir 
cumstances to the Emperor Aurelian, who commanded 
that the saint should be brought before him, and upon 
his appearance addressed him thus: "I wish, my son, to 
employ thee at court, but thou must therefore abandon 
the Christian faith. Choose, then, a happy life at my 
palace, or an ignominious death upon the scaffold." 
Mammas replied: "The choice, O prince, is already 

278 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

made: thou dost propose unto me a death which shall 
render me forever happy, or a short life that must make 
me eternally miserable." The emperor asked: "And 
from whom, if not from our gods, canst thou expect this 
everlasting bliss ?" " No," rejoined Mammas, " thy gods 
which are but deaf and blind statues, can confer no favq.r 
upon me. I adore the one only true God, and for him I 
am most willing to lay down my life. To be permitted 
to do so I would esteem the greatest possible happi 

This conversation so irritated Aurelian, that he com 
manded the saint s body to be torn with scourges: yet 
Mammas endured this torture without a groan; and the 
emperor, who appeared moved by the horrid infliction, 
said, in a tone of entreaty: "Mammas, merely say with 
thy mouth that thou wilt sacrifice." The saint replied: 
" It would displease my God were I to deny him with 
my heart or with my tongue. Continue to torture me as 
long as it pleaseth thee. The executioners shall sooner 
tire than I." This expression exasperated Aurelian, and 
he commanded that the saint s flesh should be burned 
with torches, which, however, by God s permission, 
burned not the saint, but those who held them. The 
emperor perceiving this, ordered that he should be cast 
into the sea; but while he was being led thither, an an 
gel, appearing in the form of a young man, put the 
guards to flight, and intimated to Mammas that he 
should retire to a mountain in the neighborhood of Cae- 
sarea; the saint accordingly dwelt in that solitude for 
forty days. 

A new governor was appointed to Caesarea, and hav 
ing been informed that there lived on the adjoining 
mountain a Christian whom the emperor had con 
demned to death, he sent a troop of cavalry to seize him. 
The soldiers having met the saint, without knowing him 
to be the object of their pursuit, asked him if he knew in 

CHAP. LXIV.] St. Mammas and Companions. 279 

which part of the mountain Mammas dwelt. The saint 
replied that he could show them his abode, and led them 
to his hut, which was instantly surrounded by a troop of 
wild beasts. The soldiers being alarmed hereat, the 
saint said: "Fear not: these creatures come to nourish 
me with their milk. I am Mammas, whom you seek; re 
turn to town, and I will follow you." The soldiers were 
too much alarmed not to obey the saint; and on their 
return informed the governor of what had happened. 
The holy martyr soon presented himself before the gov 
ernor, who said to him: "Art thou the wizard that by 
the magical arts of the Christians dost tame wild beasts ?" 
The saint answered: "I am a servant of Jesus Christ, 
who protects his servants, and condemns to eternal fire 
those that confide in idols. For the rest, know that the 
practice of magic, of which you falsely accuse us, is un 
known to Christians. Thou hast sent for me; what is 
thy will?" The governor replied: "Thou art a rash 
man, opposing, as thou dost, the edicts of the emperor; 
but torments shall alter thee." 

The tyrant then ordered that the saint should be 
stretched upon the rack, and scourged; but as he evinced 
considerable fortitude, the governor threatened to have 
him burned alive, and accordingly sent him to prison. 
St. Mammas here found forty Christians who had been 
incarcerated for the faith, and being moved to compas 
sion, prayed for them; whereupon the gates of the prison 
opened of themselves, and these holy confessors were 
thus restored to liberty. 

The miracle converted some pagans, but increased the 
fury of the tyrant, who ordered that Mammas should be 
bound hand and foot and cast into a furnace. The fire, 
however, touched not a hair of his head, but merely 
burned his bonds, and during his stay in the fire he 
ceased not to bless the Lord. The saint after this trial 
prayed for the termination of his martyrdom; and being 

280 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

cut down by the swords of the executioners, went to re 
ceive the reward of his many victories, in the year 275, 
which was the last year of Aurelian s reign. 

Surius has written the life of this saint, who has al 
ways been regarded by the Greeks as one of their most 
glorious martyrs. During the reign of Constantine a 
church was built over his tomb at Caesarea, and other 
churches have been erected to his honor throughout 
Christendom. 1 



September 19. 

NAPLES and Benevento both claim the honor of hav 
ing given birth to Januarius; he is said to have been de 
scended of the ancient family of the Sanniti, who had 
made war with the Romans, and were masters and dukes 
of Benevento. There are no historical records of the 
first years of St. Januarius, but it is certain that his 
parents were Christians, and that he was esteemed the 
most learned and pious of the clergy, for which reason 
he was unanimously chosen bishop of Benevento, upon 
a vacancy having occurred in that see. The humility of 
the saint induced him most resolutely to refuse that dig- 

1 St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, and many other cele 
brated authors eulogize St. Mammas. Alban Butler or Godescard, and 
Giry, assure us that his head was translated from Constantinople to 
Langres at the beginning of the I3th century, and deposited in the 
cathedral that tool: this holy martyr as its chief patron and titular 
saint. ED. 

CHAP. LXV] .SV. Januarius and Companions. 


nity, until he was obliged to accept it by a command 
from the Pope, who was at that time St. Caius, or St. 

Our saint undertook the government of his church 
during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, 
which circumstance gave him noble opportunities of 
manifesting the extent of his zeal for the faith of Jesus 
Christ. Not content with propagating and maintaining 
the faith in his own diocese, he ran through the neigh 
boring cities converting pagans, and assisting and en 
couraging the faithful. 

In the discharge of these duties he became acquainted 
with a holy deacon of the city of Miseno, named Sosius, 
with whom he formed a most intimate friendship; for as 
Sosius was one day reading the Gospel to the people, 
St. Januarius saw a most resplendent flame upon his 
head, from which fact he predicted that the pious dea 
con would be crowned with martyrdom. The prophecy 
was soon fulfilled; for after a few days Sosius was ar 
rested as a Christian, and brought before Dracontius, 
governor of the district, who having in vain endeavored 
with promises and threats to make him prevaricate, 
caused him to be cruelly scourged, tortured, and sent to 
prison. He was here frequently visited by the Chris 
tians, but the deacon Proculus, and his fellow-citizens 
Eutyches and Acutius, were particularly attentive to 
him; and St. Januarius was no sooner apprised of his ar 
rest than he repaired to the prison to comfort and en 
courage him. 

Meanwhile Dracontius was removed to another place 
by the emperor, and succeeded in the government by 
Timothy, who upon his arrival at Nola, having heard of 
the preaching of St. Januarius, and the assistance which 
lie afforded to the faithful in the neighborhood, ordered 
him to be arrested and brought before him, bound hand 
and foot. On being presented to the new governor, 

282 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

our saint was commanded to sacrifice, but immediately 
rejected the iniquitous proposal with horror and con 
tempt; whereupon Timothy ordered him to be thrown 
into a furnace. The order was instantly executed, but 
the saint received not the least hurt; and although this 
miraculous preservation excited the wonder of all pres 
ent, it was so far from making any salutary impression 
on the tyrant, that it rendered him more furious and 
cruel than before, and he accordingly ordered that the 
saint s body should be stretched upon the rack until his 
every nerve should be broken. 

As soon as these proceedings were known at Beneven- 
to, Festus, the bishop s deacon, and Desiderius, his lec 
tor, forthwith departed to visit their holy prelate in the 
name of his entire flock; but Timothy being informed of 
their arrival at Nola, caused them to be arrested, and 
their depositions to be taken regarding the motives of 
their journey. They answered that, holding as they did 
subordinate offices in the church of the good bishop, 
they thought it their duty to visit their Superior in 
prison, and minister to him whatever assistance it might 
be in their power to afford. Upon hearing this declara 
tion the tyrant commanded that they should be loaded 
with chains, and made to walk before his chariot to 
Puzzuoli, to be there delivered to wild beasts together 
with their pastor. 

Immediately after their arrival they were exposed in 
the amphitheatre, when St. Januarius said to the rest: 
" Be of good heart, brethren ! Behold, the day of our 
triumph has arrived. Let us confidently give our lives 
for Jesus Christ, who vouchsafed to give his for us." 
The beasts were let loose upon them, in the presence of 
a great multitude; but although they ran towards the 
martyrs as it were to devour them, they cast themselves 
before them and licked their feet. The miracle was evi 
dent to all, and a deep murmur was heard to run through 

CHAP. i. xv] St. Januarius and Companions. 283 

the amphitheatre: "The God of the Christians is the 
only true God." 

The effect produced by this miracle made Timothy 
fear a general sedition, and he accordingly gave orders 
that the martyrs should be led to the public square and 
beheaded; but St. Januarius, in passing the governor, 
prayed that the Lord might strike him blind, for his 
own confusion and the conversion of the people. This 
prayer having taken instant effect, the tyrant delayed 
the execution of the sentence, and besought the holy 
bishop to forgive the maltreatment he had received, and 
to pray for the restoration of his sight. St. Januarius 
did so, and the miracle was followed by the conversion 
of five thousand pagans; but Timothy, fearing lest he 
should lose the favor of the emperor, ordered his officers 
to have the last sentence privately but instantly exe 

While our saint was being led to Vulcano, the place 
selected for his last struggle, an aged Christian fol 
lowed him, imploring with many tears that he would 
give him something to keep for his sake; the good 
bishop, moved by the devotion of the old man, told him 
that he had nothing to give, except his handkerchief, 
which, as he needed it to bandage his eyes in receiving 
the stroke of death, he could not let him have until after 
his martyrdom. On arriving at Vulcano, St. Januarius 
tied the handkerchief over his eyes, and repeating the 
words, " Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit," 
he was decapitated on the iQth of September, towards 
the close of the third century, together with his com 
panions, Sosius, Festus, Proculus, Desiderius, Eutyches, 
and Acutius. 

The relics of these holy martyrs were afterwards 
translated to different cities. Puzzuoli was favored 
with the bodies of SS. Proculus, Eutyches, and Acutius; 
while Benevento was honored with those of SS. Festus 

284 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PA;*T i. 

and Desiderius; that of St. Sosius was removed to 
Miseno. The body of St. Januarius was first deposited 
at Benevento, and afterwards at the Monastery of Monte- 
Virgine, until during the pontificate of Alexander IV., 
St. Severus, bishop of Naples, accompanied by the 
Neapolitan clergy and a great concourse of the laity, 
translated it to Naples, and placed it in a church dedi 
cated to God in his honor. From this church, however, 
which was without the city, the relics of St. Januarius 
were again translated to the cathedral, together with 
two vials of his blood, and have been there objects of 
great religious veneration for fourteen centuries. The 
Neapolitans honor this saint as the principal patron of 
their city and nation, and the Lord himself has con 
tinued to honor him, by allowing many miracles to be 
wrought through his intercession, particularly when the 
frightful eruptions of Mount Vesuvius have threatened 
the city of Naples with utter destruction. While the 
relics of St. Januarius were being brought in procession 
towards this terrific volcano, the torrents of lava and 
liquid fire which it emitted have ceased, or turned their 
course from the city. 

But the most stupendous miracle, and that which is 
greatly celebrated in the church, is the liquefying and 
boiling up of this blessed martyr s blood whenever the 
vials are brought in sight of his head. This miracle is 
renewed many times in the year, in presence of all who 
desire to witness it; yet some heretics have endeavored 
to throw a doubt upon its genuineness, by frivolous and 
incoherent explanations; but no one can deny the effect 
to be miraculous, unless he be prepared to question the 
evidence of his senses. 

All the facts related about St. Januarius are drawn 
from trustworthy sources, such as the Acts possessed by 
Baronius, the Greek Acts of the Vatican, the Greek 
Menology of Basil, the writing of John Diacono, an 

CHAP. LXV.] St. Januarius and Companions. 285 

author of great credit, who lived in the ninth century, 
and whom Muratori himself praises. To this must be 
added the very ancient Offices of Naples, Salerno, Capua, 
and Puzzuoli, and finally the tradition of Nola, where is 
yet shown at the present day the prison in which the 
saint was shut up, the place where his bones were dis 
located, and the furnace from which he came forth un 
hurt. These records contain nearly all that we have 
related: all, or nearly all, are written in the Acts of 
Baronius, which, resting on other records, deserve our 
entire confidence. 

I repeat here what I have said at the beginning of this 
book, that it seems to be a kind of temerity to wish to 
doubt positively about the truth of the facts related by 
several ancient authors, though they may not be con 
temporaneous authors grave and careful to examine 
into things, especially when these facts are supported by 
an uncontroverted and ancient tradition. 

It is true that we should justly doubt ancient facts 
against the authenticity of which we may allege some 
solid reason; but I ask here, which are the arguments 
that Tillemont, Baillet, and some other modern authors 
oppose to the facts of the martyrdom of St. Januarius? 
They say that this antiquity removes them too far 
from our time; that the tortures related are too violent, 
and therefore incredible; that these facts are too numer 
ous. They also add other similar objections which are 
groundless, and which I pass over in silence for brevity s 
sake. To all these difficulties I reply, that by following 
this method we should have to reject many Acts that 
are commonly regarded as genuine, such as those of St. 
Felix of Nola, of St. Carpus, of St. Theodotus and of 
St. Tarachus, and many others that we read of in the 
celebrated Ruinart, and in a host of other good authors. 

286 Martyrs of the First Ages. IPART i. 

Some of our writers have approved of what is said by 
Tillemont and Baillet, because of certain Acts of St. 
Januarius that were found at Bologna with the Celestin 
Fathers in the monastery of St. Stephan. But I do not 
see why we should put faith in these Acts, and not in 
those of Baronius and of other authors mentioned above. 
They say with Tillemont that the Acts of Bologna are 
more simple, because in them no mention is made of the 
miracles described in the Acts of Baronius, and should 
therefore the former be preferred to the latter? 

Allow me to make here a painful reflection. The 
present age is called the age of light, because it has a 
better taste and a more correct judgment of things. 
But would to God that it had not degenerated in many 
things, and that it were not growing worse by wishing 
to subject divine things to be estimated by our feeble 
intelligence! Some of these who are learned in this 
fashion deny or call in question most of the miracles re 
lated in the lives of the saints; they say that the account 
of these miracles only makes heretics laugh at the too 
great credulity of the Catholics, and for this reason re 
fuse to be united to our Church. I answer: Heretics do 
not wish to believe our miracles, not because they esteem 
us too credulous, but because among them no miracles 
are ever seen; this explains why they despise our mir 
acles. And it is by no means true that our too great 
facility in believing in miracles hinders them from being 
united to our Church, for it is precisely because they do 
not wish to unite with our Church, and to submit to her 
that they refuse to believe in miracles. These unfor 
tunate people do not see that in refusing to submit to 
the Church they reduce themselves to a state of believing 
in nothing, as evidently appears from the books that 
often reach us from the so-called reformed countries. 
Moreover, they know that the Christian faith was propa 
gated and maintained by means of miracles just as 

CHAP. LXV] St. Januarius and Companions. 287 

Jesus Christ and the Apostles propagated it; and the 
reason of this is clear. For as the revealed truths which 
are the object of our faith are not of themselves evident 
to the eyes of our mind, it was necessary to induce us to 
believe them by means of miracles, which surpassing the 
forces of nature aid us to know clearly that it is God 
who speaks to us in the midst of these prodigies. Thus 
in proportion to the persecutions raised against the 
Church has the Lord multiplied miracles. In short, the 
miracles wrought more or less frequently by God 
through his servants have never been wanting in our 

Let us return to our subject. It is not therefore just 
to prefer the Acts of the Monastery of Bologna to all 
those that we have quoted, because they are more simple, 
and because they do not comprise all the miracles le- 
lated by Baronius, Diacono, and other authors. Besides, 
these Acts of Bologna, if carefully examined, date only 
from the sixteenth century. Again, another well-in 
formed author, Xavier Rossi, in a learned dissertation, 
assures us that these Acts should be regarded as less 
trustworthy than those that we have followed, since they 
are encumbered with other narratives that are false, or 
at least improbable, and since it has become known that 
they were written by an ignorant person, who collected 
them without discretion, and in writing committed many 
faults against the Latin grammar. 

288 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 



October 6 and 20. 

ST. FAITH was born at Agen, in Aquitaine, of one of 
the most illustrious and Christian families of the prov 
ince. She had from her most tender years dedicated 
herself to Jesus Christ; and having heard of the many 
glorious victories obtained by the martyrs during the 
persecution which was still raging, she conceived a most 
ardent desire to be made a partaker of their triumph; 
nor was the object of her yearnings long delayed. 

Dacian, whose cruelty has obtained for him an infa 
mous celebrity, was then prefect of Aquitaine; and as the 
Christian religion was generally professed at Agen, he 
determined to repair thither, in order that his presence 
might render the slaughter of the faithful more com 
plete. The news of his intended visit struck terror into 
the Christians, and the adjoining woods and caverns 
were peopled with the former inhabitants of Agen. St. 
Faith was also pressed to seek safety in flight, but she 
refused to depart from the city, saying that she could 
not think of losing the fine opportunity that God had 
given her of dying for his love. 

Upon the arrival of Dacian she learned that he had 
received information regarding her, and of her own ac 
cord presented herself before him. The tyrant being 
aware of her noble birth, and admiring her intrepidity, 
asked her name and religion in a mild tone. The saint 
answered: u My name is Faith, and I wish to be in real- 

CHAP. LXVI.I St. Faith, Virgin, and Companions. 289 

ity that which my name implies. I am therefore a 
Christian, and entirely consecrated to Jesus Christ, my 

The prefect said: "Abandon, my child, the supersti 
tion of the Christians. Have some regard for thy rank 
and thy youth. I promise to make thee the first lady of 
the province. Go, therefore, and sacrifice to Diana, and 
upon coming out from the temple thou shalt receive the 
rich reward I have destined for thee." St. Faith re 
turned the following animated answer: " From my in 
fancy I have known that all the gods whom thou wor- 
shippest are devils; and dost thou expect that I can be 
persuaded to offer them sacrifice ? The Lord preserve 
me from such impiety ! There is but "one true God, to 
whom I am willing to sacrifice my life. All thy prom 
ises and gifts shall never make me abandon my relig 

Dacian in a rage said: "How dost thou presume to 
call our gods devils ? Instantly resolve to sacrifice, or 
to expire under torments." The saint with increased 
courage replied: " Know, sir, that I am not only pre 
pared to suffer all tortures for the love of my God, but 
I am impatient to give him this proof of my fidelity." 
The tyrant then gave orders that the saint should be 
roasted alive upon a gridiron; but while the barbarous 
sentence was being executed, the pagans themselves 
were horror-struck, and proclaimed aloud that it was too 
cruel so to torture a young woman for no other crime 
than that of being faithful to the God whom she 

Meanwhile St. Caprais, a pious young man, who was 
one of the Christians that had retired to the mountain, 
beheld from an eminence the martyrdom of St. Faith, and 
was favored with a vision, in which he saw a white dove 
bearing a rich crown and placing it on the head of the 
martyr, at the same time moving his wings, as if to 

290 Martyrs of the First Ages* [PART i. 

draw down the rain which extinguished the fire. St. 
Caprais was by this vision inflamed with the desire of 
martyrdom; but, irresolute as to how he should act, he 
prayed to the Lord to manifest to him whether he was 
called to that honor. Upon entering his cave he saw a 
vein of water issuing from a stone; and interpreting this 
miracle as a call to martyrdom, he left the cave to pre 
sent himself before the prefect. 

Being asked by Dacian who he was, Caprais replied, 
"1 am a Christian;" but the prelect perceiving him to 
be a youth ot very pleasing appearance , called him apart, 
and used all his arts of persuasion to pervert him. The 
young Christian continuing resolute in his profession of 
faith, was, by order of the tyrant, stretched upon the 
rack and torn with iron hooks. During his tortures 
Caprais spoke of the truths of the Christian religion, 
and of the impiety and folly of paganism, with such tri 
umphant conviction, that the greater part of the pagan 
bystanders were converted. 

Among these were the two brothers SS. Primus and 
Felician, who received baptism, and openly avowed 
their belief that the God of the Christians was the only 
true God. Dacian left no means untried in order to in 
duce them to abandon the faith which they had so re 
cently embraced, and even had them conducted to the 
temple to sacrifice to the gods; but as their constancy 
was unconquerable, they were condemned to be be 
headed, together with SS. Faith and Caprais, and some 
other converts. 

On the following night the Christians of Agen took 
the bodies of these blessed martyrs and secretly buried 
them. After peace had been restored to the Church, a 
holy bishop of Agen, named Dulcitius, built a church 
in honor of St. Faith, and placed therein the relics of 
the above-named martyrs; but in process of time the 
body of St. Faith was translated to the Abbey of 

CHAP. !. xvii i .S /. C/rncsizis, the Comedian. 291 

Conques, which was afterwards called after the saint. 
She is mentioned in the martyrology on the 6th Octo 
ber, and is held in great veneration by the Church of 



August 25. 

AUTHKNTIC documents, quoted by Rninart, induce ns 
to believe that the martyrdom of Saint Genesins took 
place at Rome, at the beginning of Diocletian s reign, 
about the year 285. 

Our saint was a favorite comedian, and such an en 
emy to the Christians, that he did not exempt from his 
hate those of his relatives who professed the faith. 
Having become acquainted with the ceremonies of the 
Church in the administration of baptism, he wished to 
amuse the emperor and the Roman people by turning 
this holy sacrament into ridicule ; and accordingly, act 
ing the part of a dying Christian, the ceremonies of bap 
tism were performed upon him by another player, who 
personated the character of a priest. 

But when the player, sitting down beside him, said, 
Well, my child, why hast thou sent for me?" Gene- 
sius, suddenly illuminated by divine inspiration, an 
swered, not in jest, but seriously: " I desire to receive 
the grace of Jesus Christ, and to be relieved from the 
weight of my sins, which oppress me." The usual cere 
monies were then performed, but he seriously answered 
the questions proposed, and declared that he was in ear 
nest in professing his belief therein. During the recep- 

292 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

tion of this baptism he was favored with a vision, in 
which he saw an angel, surrounded with heavenly light, 
holding a book in which his sins had been written. The 
angel having immersed this book in the waters of bap 
tism, showed it to Genesius perfectly white. 

In continuation of the play, Genesius was clothed in 
the white robe of the neophytes, after which certain 
players representing soldiers came to seize him, and 
present him to the emperor as a Christian. But 
when he was brought before Diocletian he manifested 
the vision with which he had been favored, and pro 
claimed his desire that all present should acknowledge 
Jesus Christ to be the true God, through whom alone it 
is possible to be saved. Diocletian was both surprised 
and irritated hereat, and having ordered him to be se 
verely beaten with clubs upon the spot, he delivered him 
over to Plautian, prefect of the praetorium, that he might 
compel him to renounce Jesus Christ. 

Plautian ordered him to be stretched upon the rack, 
to be torn with iron hooks, and burned with torches ; 
during which horrid infliction the saint made the follow 
ing protestation : "Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of 
all things. Him will I adore, although I be obliged to 
surfer a thousand deaths. All possible tortures shall 
never take Jesus Christ from my heart or from my lips. 
My only grief is, that I have so long persecuted his holy 
name, and have learned to adore him, alas ! so late." 
He was then beheaded, and thus went to receive his re 
ward in heaven. 

1 St. Genesius did not receive the sacrament of regeneration, as the 
player did not intend to do that which the Church doth, but merely to 
represent and ridicule her most sacred, rites Our saint, however, re 
ceived the baptism of martyrdom. ED. 

CHAP. LXVIII. i St. Hippolytus, Priest. 293 



August 13 

ST. HIPPOLYTUS was one of the five Roman priests 
that had the misfortune to be implicated in the schism 
of Novatian, 1 who, renouncing his obedience to Pope St. 
Cornelius, had the rashness to have himself surrepti 
tiously consecrated Bishop of Rome. God, however, 

1 The ambition, turbulence, and hypocrisy of this wretched man are 
portrayed at length by Fleury. He had been a stoic philosopher, and 
had gained some reputation by his eloquence ; but being possessed by a 
devil, he was relieved by a Christian exorcist, and thereupon embraced 
the faith. He, however, continued a catechumen until he was over 
taken by a dangerous illness, when he received baptism in bed. The 
Church condemned the lukewarmness of those who would so defer their 
baptism by refusing to admit them to Holy Orders; yet did this 
hypocrite so ingratiate himself with his bishop as to be ordained priest, 
notwithstanding that the entire body of the clergy and many of the laity 
requested the bishop not to lay hands upon him. Novatian soon proved 
their distrust of him to be but too well founded ; for the persecution 
coming on, he shut himself up in his house, and when the deacons called 
upon him for the discharge of his priestly functions, he flew in a passion, 
and exclaimed that he would no longer discharge any clerical duty, as 
he desired to practise another kind of philosophy. Having thus mani 
fested his cowardice and want of zeal, he next showed his turbulent 
spirit in opposing and endeavoring to bring discredit upon his Superiors. 
To this end he became most rigid, and complained that the bishops 
were too easy in admitting those who had offered sacrifice to a reconcili 
ation with the Church, and that they were thereby guilty of a most crim 
inal relaxation of discipline. He was not only encouraged and abetted 
in establishing an open schism at Rome by the turbulent and wicked 
Novatus ; but by his hypocrisy, his cunning, and his desperate calumny 
of St. Cornelius, he deceived many well -meaning and incautious persons, 
among whom were St. Hippolytus, and some others who had actually 

2 94 Martyrs of the First Ages. .[PART i. 

granted to Hippolytus the grace to expiate this fault by 
a glorious martyrdom, which he suffered under Decius, 
in the year 252. He had been already imprisoned with 
others for the faith, and the prefect of Rome, who had 
to pass sentence upon them, was at Ostia, whither he 

been confessors of the faith. These, however, were quickly disabused, 
with the exception of Evaristus and Nicostrates, who obstinately perse 
vered in their errors. By the most nefarious means he seduced three 
bishops to Rome, and obtained from them the episcopal consecration. 
Thus making himself the first anti-pope, he wrote to the different 
churches in the quality of Chief Pastor, which caused much uneasiness 
to the distant bishops and congregations, as they thought, on the one 
hand, that an impostor could not be favored by ecclesiastics of emi 
nent sanctity; and on the other, they doubted the truth of his assertions 
regarding the irregularity of the appointment of Pope Cornelius. But 
the veil of hypocrisy and cheat under which the schismatic endeavored 
to conceal himself was too thin not to be seen through by the intelligent 
and penetrating Bishop of Alexandria, St. Dionysius, who having re 
ceived from him a formal notice of his appointment, sent him the fol 
lowing answer : " You inform me that you were raised to this dignity 
very much against your inclination ; you will, therefore, be the more 
willing to resign it. This you should do, rather than allow a schism to 
continue in the Church ; and for doing so you shall deserve and receive 
commendation. But should persecution be the consequence of your 
resignation, know that it will be a more glorious martyrdom than to die 
for the faith ; because by the latter a person provides only for his o\yn 
soul, while he who maintains the unity of the Church consults for the 
salvation of many." This holy bishop and St. Cyprian were of great 
assistance to the Pope in crushing the schism. The wretched Novatian 
afterwards added heresy to his other crimes, by teaching that the Church 
had not the power of forgiving certain sins ; but that apostates, murder 
ers, etc., should be left to the mercy of God, without being reconciled 
to the Church, no matter what penance they might perform. This 
doctrine being condemned by the Church, he was followed only by a 
few, in giving Communion to whom he used to administer a most hor 
rid oath, that they never would abandon him to return to Cornelius. 
The history of this schism has been given more at length than the di 
mensions of a note would seem to authorize, not only on account of its 
importance, but because it is a tolerably fair sample of the motives that 
influence the authors of heresy and schism, as well as of the means by 
which they are propagated. En. 

CHAP. LXVIII.] St. Hippolytus, Priest. 295 

caused all the Christian prisoners to be brought. As 
Hippolytus was being led out, the people asked him 
who was the real Pope. He replied : " Fly from the un 
worthy Novatian; abhor the schism, and adhere to the 
Catholic Church. I now see things in a different light, 
and repent of what I once taught." 

Upon the arrival of the confessors at Ostia, the pre 
fect caused some of them to be tortured, and finding 
that this availed nothing, he condemned them all to 
death. Being informed, however, that our saint was a 
chief amongst the Christians, he inquired his name; and 
being told that he was called Hippolytus, the prefect 
said: "Then let him die the death of Hippolytus, and 
be dragged by wild horses." By this sentence he re 
ferred to the fabled personage who, falling from his 
chariot, became entangled in the harness, and being 
dragged along by the horses, was torn to pieces. 

The executioners accordingly led out two wild horses, 
and tying them together, placed a long rope between 
them, to the end of which they attached the martyr s 
feet; they then frightened the horses away with shouts 
and blows; whereupon the saint was heard to say: "O 
Lord, let my body be torn, but save my soul." 

The horses dragged him over rocks and hedges, leav 
ing the entire way sprinkled with his blood, and his torn 
flesh and limbs scattered about. These the faithful 
diligently collected, and absorbed his blood in sponges. 
The relics of this saint, as Prudentius * writes, were 
afterwards brought to Rome, where they were held in 
great veneration. 

1 Perisleph, hymn. 4. 

296 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 


August 22. 

FAUSTUS, an exemplary Christian of Autun, in France, 
was the father of St. Symphorian, who by reason of the 
pious education he received, and being, moreover, as 
sisted by divine grace, made such progress in virtue, 
that he was held in the highest esteem by all the faith 
ful. There were many idolaters in Autun, who formed 
an annual procession, in which a statue of the goddess 
Cybele was borne on a richly adorned chariot. As 
Symphorianus was, on one occasion, passing the proces 
sion, he publicly condemned the veneration of the idol, 
whereupon he was instantly seized and brought before 
Heraclius, the governor, who was at the time searching 
out the Christians, in order to compel them to renounce 
Jesus Christ. 

Heraclius asked our saint why he refused to adore the 
goddess Cybele, and received the following answer: " I 
am a Christian; and as such, I adore the true God, who 
reigns in heaven ; but certainly not the images of the 
devil, which I would rather break to pieces." The* gov 
ernor asked whether lie was a native citizen; and being 
answered by his attendants that he was one of very 
noble birth, he said to the saint: u I perceive that thy 
noble birth maketh thee rash and disobedient. But 
perhaps thou art ignorant of the imperial edicts." He 
then ordered that edict of Marcus Aurelius, commanding 
all recusants to be tortured, should be read, and added: 
"Thou mayest now perceive that thou art guilty of two 

CHAP. LXTX.] Sf. Symphorian. 297 

crimes sacrilege towards the gods, and disobedience of 
the law; upon continuing obstinate thou shall die." 
Symphorian answered: "The God whom I adore is as 
rigorous in awarding punishment as he is bounteous in 
bestowing rewards; and I never can arrive at the happy 
eternity unless I persevere in the faith." 

Having made this confession, the governor caused 
him to be scourged with rods and sent to prison; but 
after some days he sent for the saint, and promised that 
he would obtain for him a high post of honor if he 
would adore the gods of the Romans. Symphorian, 
interrupting him, said: " A judge descends below his 
dignity when he endeavors to corrupt innocence. I fear 
nothing; for, sooner or later, I must die; nor do I know 
of any other honors than those which Jesus Christ 
promises me, and which are immense and eternal. The 
honors which are in thy power to bestow are like snow 
that melts upon the appearance of the sun. Our God 
alone can grant us a lasting felicity, by making us par, 
takers of his own glory, which, as it never had a begin, 
ning, can have no end." 

Heraclius, looking sternly at him, said: "My patiencG 
is worn out! Instantly sacrifice to Cybele, or I shall 
have thee put to death after a lengthened torture. 
Symphorian answered: "I fear only to offend my God, 
who is omnipotent. My body is in thy power, but m\ 
soul thou canst not injure." The saint then proceeded 
to expose the inconsistency of paganism, and spoke sc. 
powerfully that Heraclius commanded him to be be^ 
headed without delay, lest he should make some con 

While he was being led to martyrdom, his pious 
mother encouraged him in the following words: "Think 
of God, my child, and fear not a death that leads thee to 
eternal life. Raise thy eyes to heaven, where the Lord 
awaits thee in glory. To-day thou diest not, but dost 

298 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

change this for a better life." Symphorian thus happily 
terminated his triumph. 

The Acts of this glorious martyr are found in Rui- 
nart. 1 



August 21. 

JULIAN THE APOSTATE, upon his accession to the em 
pire, found an able minister of impiety in the person of 
another Julian, his maternal uncle, who, to please the 
wicked emperor, also abandoned the faith. While this 
impious wretch held the command in the East, two 
officers of the army, Bonosus and Maximilian, were ac 
cused before him, because they retained the cross 
and the adorable name upon their standards, contrary 
to the imperial edicts, which ordained that idolatrous 
figures should be substituted for these Christian em 
blems. The general having received this information, 
summoned the Christian officers before him, and told 
them that they should change their standards, and wor 
ship the gods. The saints replied that they would do 

Whereupon Julian commanded that Bonosus should 

1 The faithful secretly carried off the body of St. Symphorian, and 
buried it with great veneration. Towards the end of the fourth cen 
tury a chapel was built over the tomb, which became celebrated by 
many miracles. Other churches and monasteries have been since 
erected in several places in his honor. At the cathedral of Autun there 
are a few relics that escaped the sacrilegious fury of the Huguenots, 
who burnt a part of them in 1570, and the saint has always been greatly 


LXX ] SS. Bonosits and Maximilian. 299 

be tied up and flogged with scourges loaded with lead. 
This sentence was most cruelly executed, the number of 
lashes which he received being upwards of three hun 
dred. During the infliction the general asked the saint 
many questions, without receiving any answer, until at 
last he said: "We adore the true God, nor do we know 
who these gods are whom we are called upon to wor 

Julian then addressed Maximilian, who returned the 
same answer that his companion had given, and then 
added : " If we must adore your gods, make them capa 
ble of hearing and speaking, for it is forbidden us to 
worship deaf and dumb divinities." Hereupon the 
tyrant caused both the saints to be tortured on the rack; 
but rinding that they suffered with great joy, he ordered 
them to be thrown into a caldron of boiling pitch, from 
which, however, they came forth unhurt, retaining only 
some signs of the torments suffered. The idolaters, as 
usual, attributed this miraculous preservation to the 
magical abilities of the saints ; but the prefect of the 
praetorium, Secundus Salustius, although a pagan, de 
clared that he wished to examine the matter more mi 
nutely. Accordingly, approaching the caldron, instead 
of hearing any magical incantation, he heard them prais 
ing the Lord, as placidly as if they were in a cold bath. 
Overcome with wonder, he proposed to Julian to expose 
the priests of their gods to a similar trial, alleging that, 
if the devil could preserve the Christians, surely the im 
mortal gods would, for their own honor, preserve their 
priests, as the God of the Christians was said to preserve 
his servants. Julian dreaded the consequences of refus 
ing to comply with so reasonable a demand, coming 
from such a person, and accordingly delivered up some 
pagan priests to the prefect, who ordered them to be 
cast into the caldron, whereupon they were instantly 

300 Martyrs of tfie First Ages. [PART i. 

Our saints were then brought back to prison by order 
of the tyrant, who commanded that they should receive 
no bread but that which bore the impress of an idol, and 
the saints declared that they would sooner die of hun 
ger than eat it. Meanwhile the brother of Sapor, king 
of Persia, Prince Hormisdas, who, being a good Chris 
tian, had retired from his own country and lived in the 
Roman empire during the reigns of Constantine and 
Constantius, paid our saints a visit of devotion, which so 
enraged Julian that he threatened to expose the saints 
to wild beasts unless they would abandon their faith. 
Bonosus answered : "Our God is with us, and therefore 
we fear neither men nor beasts." Julian next declared 
that he would have them burned alive ; whereupon the 
entire crowd of Christians exclaimed that they also 
should be burned. Julian, fearing a sedition, requested 
the prefect, Secundus Salustius, to take his place and 
cause the saints to be again tortured. The prefect, 
however, refused to comply, and although a pagan, re 
quested Bonosus to pray to his God for him. 

Finally, Julian condemned Bonosus and Maximilian, 
together with some other Christian prisoners, to be be 
headed. They all proceeded joyously to martyrdom, 
accompanied by St. Melesius, Bishop of Antioch, and 
many other Christians, who congratulated the blessed 
martyrs on their happy lot. 

On the third day after their triumph the wretched 
Julian was seized with a horrible disorder, which so pu 
trefied his bowels that he constantly vomited forth 
worms. Having suffered the most excruciating tortures, 
he at last acknowledged that his punishment was the 
effect of divine vengeance, and died in despair. 1 

The Acts of SS. Bonosus and Maximilian are found 
in Ruinart s collection. 

1 The wife of this wretched man, who was remarkable for her piety, 
did not fail to make him recognize the hand of God in the exquisite tor- 

:n. LXXI.I 6Y. Liber atus and Companions. 301 



August 17. 

HUNERIC having succeeded Genseric in Africa, raised 
a persecution against the Catholics, and, at the sugges 
tion of the Arian bishops, published an edict, in the year 
485, wherein it was ordained that the Catholic clergy 
should be banished into far distant countries. Those 
who had been exiled received no other food than such 
grain as was given to horses, and even of this they were 
soon deprived. 1 

During this persecution, seven Religious of a monas 
tery in the province of Byzacena were incarcerated: 
they were Liberatus, the abbot ; Boniface, deacon ; 
Servus and Rusticus, sub-deacons ; Rogatus, Septimus, 
and Maximus, simple monks. They were at first tempted 
with promises of riches, honors, and the favor of the 
sovereign, but answered : " We hold in contempt all that 
you can promise. As we acknowledge but one God, 
there can be but one faith. Do unto us as it pleaseth 

tures which he suffered during the frightful disease that terminated his 
wicked life. Moved by the exhortations of this pious lady, and by his 
own sufferings, he wrote to the emperor to restore the Christian religion; 
but his prayer was unheeded by the arch-apostate, and he died the vic 
tim of God s wrath. It is said that he invoked the mercy of the Lord in 
his last moments; but we know that "/// death of t lie wicked is rerv 
evil" Ps. xxxiii., and we have reason to tremble for the sincerity of 
that sorrow which is elicited by bodily pain. ED. 
1 See Chapters XVII. and LXXV, 

302 Martyrs of the First Ages. IPART i. 

you; we are willing to suffer all temporal punishments 
rather than suffer everlastingly." After this protesta 
tion they were sent to prison, instructions having been 
given to the jailers so to maltreat them that they would 

The Christians at Carthage, notwithstanding, by 
bribing the guards, procured admission to them, and 
administered whatever relief they could afford. Infor 
mation to this effect having reached Huneric, he gave 
orders that they should be more closely confined; but, 
perceiving that their constancy was superior to all suf 
ferings, he ordered that a boat should be filled with dry 
sticks, and that, the seven Religious being bound thereto, 
the pile should be fired at sea. While they were being 
led to the shore they exhorted the faithful to remain 
steadfast in the faith, and called that day "the day of 
their salvation." 

The soldiers who were guarding them endeavored to 
seduce Maximus, who was very young, telling him not 
to imitate his foolish companions, when he might expect 
a happy life in a king s court ; but Maximus replied: 
" In vain you endeavor to separate me from my breth 
ren. I am anxious to suffer martyrdom with them, and 
God will grant us grace that we be not divided." 

The martyrs were brought into the boat and tied upon 
the wood; but although the soldiers made several at 
tempts to kindle it, they found it impossible to do so. 
This miracle, instead of converting the tyrant, enraged 
him still more, and he commanded the soldiers to beat 
out the brains of the martyrs with the oars. This bru 
tal order was instantly executed, and the bodies of the 
saints were thrown into the sea, but the tide cast them 
ashore, and the clergy and faithful of Carthage gave 
them honorable burial. The Church celebrates the 
memory of these martyrs on the iyth August. 

en. LXXII.] SS. Seraphia and Sabina. 303 


August 29 and September 3. 

ST. SERAPHIA was born at Antioch, of Christian parents, 
who, to avoid the persecution, retired to Italy, where 
they died soon after. Many Roman gentlemen, admir 
ing the extraordinary beauty of Seraphia, paid their ad 
dresses to her; but she, unwilling to have any other 
spouse than Jesus Christ, refused these honorable pro 
posals, and preferred becoming a servant to a Roman 
lady named Sabina who was at that time a young wid 
ow. This lady was a pagan, but Seraphia in the space 
of two months gained her warmest affection, and being 
full of the Spirit of God, converted her to the faith; 
whereupon she persuaded her to retire from the tumult 
of Rome to one of her estates in Umbria. She was ac 
companied hither not only by Seraphia, but by some 
other Christian virgins, and her country seat thus be 
came a seminary of saints. 

The persecution was renewed in the year 125, and 
Beryllus, the governor of Umbria, knowing that there 
were many Christian ladies at the residence of Sabina, 
ordered that they should be brought before him. Sabina 
at first refused to obey the order; but Seraphia, whose 
confidence in Jesus Christ was great, besought of her to 
let her go alone to the governor, since she hoped that 
the Lord would grant her strength. Sabina, after much 
ado, consented, but resolved on accompanying her. 
Beryllus received Sabina with every mark of respect due 
to her rank, and expressed his surprise that a lady of her 
quality would follow the abject sect of the Christians, at 

304 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

the persuasion of a witch, for so he called Seraphia, 
whom he knew to have been the cause of her conver 

The governor on this occasion allowed Sabina to re 
turn home with Seraphia; but a few days afterwards he 
caused the latter to be arrested. Sabina followed her 
on foot, and used all her endeavors to prevent the mal 
treatment of her dear friend ; but Beryllus, nothing 
moved by her entreaties, called upon Seraphia to sacri 
fice to the gods. The holy virgin answered that she 
was a Christian, that she neither acknowledged nor 
feared any other than the one true God, and that it was 
to her a matter of surprise how she could be called upon 
to worship demons. The governor said: " Let me see 
thee sacrifice to thy Christ." The saint replied: "Day 
and night I sacrifice myself to him." Beryllus asked: 
"And what sort of sacrifice is this? to offer thyself to 
thy Christ!" Seraphia answered: "The sacrifice of a 
good life is the most pleasing to him which I can 

Beryllus hereupon delivered her up to the pleasure 
of two infamous young men, but they were deterred by 
an angel, who struck them almost lifeless to the earth. 
When the governor asked the saint by what incantation 
she had produced this effect, she answered that the 
Christians used no incantations but holy prayer, and 
confidence in their God who protects them. Beryllus 
exclaimed in a rage: "Instantly sacrifice to Jove, or be 
prepared to receive immediate death." Seraphia re 
plied: "This thy threat is tome the greatest possible 
consolation, since I esteem no happiness so great as that 
of being enabled to offer my life as a sacrifice to my 
God." The governor, still more infuriated by this dec 
laration, Caused her to be cruelly beaten with clubs; 
and finding her constancy invincible, finally ordered her 
head to be struck off. 

CH. LXXII i SS. Scrap kia and Sabina. 305 

Sabina, immediately after her death, procured the 
body of the martyred virgin, and gave it most honorable 
burial; after which she led a very retired life in her own 
house, and night and day besought her departed friend 
to obtain for her also the grace to terminate her course 
by martyrdom. She was soon consoled; for Beryllus, 
who had permitted her to return to her house unmolested, 
out of respect to her rank, was promoted to the prefec 
ture, and was succeeded in the government of Umbria, 
by Elpidius, who summoned Sabina before him; and 
having grievously maltreated her, sent her to prison. 
Upon reaching the prison doors she found herself filled 
with holy joy, and exclaimed: "And is it then possible 
that I am to be admitted to a participation of the glory 
which my Seraphia enjoys ? She undoubtedly has ob 
tained for me this great privilege." 

On the day following, Elpidius summoned her before 
him, and said: " How is it possible that thou couldst so 
far forget thy rank as to follow those abject Christians, 
who glory in beggary, and madly despise both honors 
and life itself? One needs must have a mean soul to 
follow so mean a course." The saint answered: "Thou 
hast, sir, a false idea of the Christian religion, and art 
ignorant of its true nobility and real excellence. It is 
no meanness to despise the goods of this earth in order 
to attain to those of heaven. It is no disgrace, then, to 
be a Christian; but it is a real disgrace, meanness, and 
infamy to kneel down before idols, that have no other 
merit than that of the materials from which they were 
formed, or of the workmanship of the hands that made 

After this answer Elpidius resolved to cease threaten 
ing, and in the mildest manner said to her : " The em 
perors adore these our gods, and thou shouldst also 
adore them. Do not oblige me to treat thee with rigor." 
Sabina replied : " My life is in thy power ; over my faith 

306 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

thou hast no control. I will adore none but the true 
God." Hereupon Elpidius condemned her to be be 
headed. On hearing the sentence the saint exclaimed : 
" I thank Thee, O my God, for the favor Thou hast done 
me, and into Thy hands I commend my spirit." After 
these words the executioner struck off her head. Her 
martyrdom happened on the 2Qth of August, the day 
upon which, in the preceding year, her companion St. 
Seraphia had received the crown. 

The bodies of these two saints were brought to Rome 
in the year 430, and placed in a church which was built 
in honor of St. Sabina, upon the Aventine Mount. 


September 29. 

CYPRIAN was born at Antioch l in Syria, of a noble and 
opulent family, who, being pagans, educated him in the 
superstitious idolatry, and particularly in the practice of 
magic, wherein he made such progress by reason of his 
great talents that he was accounted the most famous 
magician of Greece. Having become familiar with dia 
bolical practices, there was no sort of abomination too 
hideous for him to undertake ; and he even went so far as 
to bleed children to death, in order to offer their blood to 
demons. This impious life he continued to his thirtieth 
year, when it pleased the Almighty to make him an illus 
trious example of his rreat mercy. 

His conversion happened in the following manner : 

1 A city which, according to Alban Butler, must not be confounded 
with the ancient capital of Syria; it was situated between Syria and 
Arabia, and depended on the government of Phenicia. ED. 

CH. LXXIII.] 6\5l Cyprian and Justina* 307 

There lived at Antioch a young lady called Justina, 
who, notwithstanding that her parents were idolaters, 
had embraced the faith upon hearinga Christian sermon, 
and had consecrated herself to God by a vow of virgin 
ity. Her extraordinary beauty drew the attention of a 
young gentleman named Agladius, who used all his en 
deavors to persuade her to become his wife, but being 
continually repulsed, had recourse to Cyprian, in order 
that he might change her resolution by some magic spell. 
The wizard used all his arts in vain; and St. Gregory 
writes that the devil made use of all his temptations to ef 
fect her fall, but that the holy virgin placed herself under 
the protection of the Mother of purity, and thus remained 
faithful to her vow. Cyprian upbraided the devil with 
his impotency in not being able to overcome a young 
virgin, but he was answered that she was rendered in 
vincible by the God of the Christians. u Since, then," 
said Cyprian, "the God of the Christians is more power 
ful than thou art, I will rather serve him than thee." 

Cyprian forthwith proceeded to a priest, named Euse- 
bius, who had been a friend of his, and from this clergy 
man he received great comfort and encouragement, par 
ticularly against temptation to despair, with which the 
devil continually afflicted him by upbraiding him with 
his past enormities. By the charitable assistance of 
this holy priest, Cyprian, once a monster of fiendish de 
formity, became a most exemplary Christian, and worked 
the conversion of many idolaters. It has even been as 
serted that upon the death of the Bishop of Antioch 
Cyprian was raised to that see. 

In the persecution of Diocletian, Cyprian and Justina 
were both arrested by Eutolmus. governor of Phenicia, 
who upon their resolute confession of the faith caused 
Justina to be scourged and Cyprian to be inhumanly 
torn with iron hooks. He then sent them into separate 
dungeons ; and every endeavor to pervert them having 

308 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PART i. 

proved useless, he caused them to be immersed in a cal 
dron of boiling pitch. The two saints having come forth 
unhurt, were by the governor sent to the emperor, who 
ordered them to be beheaded. This sentence was exe 
cuted on the 26th September. Their relics were brought 
to Rome, and a pious lady named Rufina afterwards 
caused a small church to be built over them. They were 
thence removed into the Lateran Basilica. 



July 27. 

PANTALEON was a native of Nicomedia. His father 
Eustorgius was a pagan; and his Christian mother Eu- 
bula dying while he was yet a child, he was educated an 
idolater. He studied medicine with such success, that 
the Emperor Maximilian l appointed him his physician. 
One day as our saint was discoursing with a holy priest 
named Hermolaus, the latter, after praising the study of 
medicine, concluded thus : " But, my friend, of what use 
are all thy acquirements in this art, since thou art igno 
rant of the science of salvation ?" This expression gave 
rise to a discourse, in which Hermolaus explained the 

1 It was to Galerius Maximianus that our saint was physician. This 
emperor conceived a great liking for him, on account of his great talents 
and extraordinary beauty, and placed him under the tuition of the cele 
brated Euphrosymus. It has been said of St. Pantaleon that he had 
apostatized upon his reception at court, and that St. Hermolaus merely 
encouraged him to retract this false step ; but the Acts state that he was 
baptized by his friend, and although he himself says that his mother ex 
horted him to profess the Christian religion, it does not appear that he 
ever did so previously to hij baptism. ED. 


Hermolaus and Pantaleon. 309 

principal truths of our faith ; so that the physician was 
obliged to confess that, in order to be truly happy, it is 
necessary to be a Christian. Some time after it hap 
pened that Pantaleon, in one of his walks, found a child 
lying dead from the recent bite of a viper, and by the 
impulse of a sudden inspiration said to the child : " In 
the name of Jesus Christ, arise !" The child instantly 
arose, and Pantaleon proceeded forthwith in search of 
St. Hermolaus, from whom he received the sacrament 
of baptism. 1 

Having once experienced the blessings of the true 
faith, our saint wished to communicate them to his 
father, for whose infidelity he grieved much. One day 
the old man, having asked him the cause of his sorrowful 
appearance, he answered : " Father, the extravagances of 
Our religion are to me a matter of great concern. If our 
gods have been men, how did they afterwards become 
divinities ? Again, many idols are formed from the same 
clay of which pots are made. How, then, can we offer 
sacrifice to these idols, which are nothing more than 
blind statues ?" The father was greatly moved hereat ; 
and a blind person arriving shortly afterwards to pro 
cure some medicine from the saint, he invoked over him 
the name of Jesus, and his sight was instantly restored. 
Upon this miracle the blind man and the saint s father 
were converted, and subsequently baptized. 

By these circumstances Pantaleon was discovered to 
be a Christian, and was accused before the emperor as 
such. Maximilian sent for him who had been blind, and 
made inquiry concerning his cure. The man related the 
fact as it had taken place, and acknowledged that he had 
thereupon become a Christian. In vain did the emperor 
endeavor to persuade him that he had been cured not 
by Jesus Christ, but by the gods. The other answered : 

1 From this circumstance it may be supposed that Hermolaus was a 
priest ; the Acts are silent on this point. ED. 

3io Martyrs of the First Ages. IPART i. 

" How is it possible, O prince, that the gods, who are 
themselves blind, can grant sight to others ?" Mortified 
by this answer, the emperor caused his head to be in 
stantly struck off, and then sent for Pantaleon, whom he 
upbraided with ingratitude for embracing the Christian 
religion after having been by him loaded with honors 
and riches. The saint answered : " It is not unknown 
to thy majesty that we are all aware of the origin of 
those gods, their passions and their crimes ; how then 
can we adore as gods men who have signalized them 
selves only by their impiety ? O prince ! there is but 
one true God, and he is the God of the Christians. Let 
us in this presence give a proof of the truth of our 

The emperor assented, and a person afflicted with an 
incurable disease was produced. In vain did the idola 
ters offer prayers and sacrifice for his relief; but no 
sooner did Pantaleon make the sign of the cross, and in 
voke the name of Jesus, than the sick person exclaimed: 
" I am cured ! I am cured ! There is no other god than 
the God of the Christians !" The emperor endeavored 
to satisfy the spectators of this miracle that it was the 
effect of incantation and magic. Vain attempt ! the 
greater part were converted, and rendered willing and 
public testimony to the power of Jesus Christ. 

Maximilian, enraged hereat, caused Pantaleon to be 
led out into one of the public squares, where he was torn 
with iron hooks, and his wounds burned with torches. 
He was then thrown into a vessel of liquid lead, from 
which, however, he came forth perfectly cured. The 
emperor then commanded him to be cast into the sea, 
with a millstone tied to his neck ; but the execution of 
this sentence proved also ineffectual. The saint was 
next bound to a tree, in order to be cut to pieces by the 
swords of the executioners ; their weapons, however, fell 
upon him as though they had been made of wax. 

CH. LXXV.] St. Felix and Companions. 311 

The tyrant, nothing moved by these evident marks of 
God s protection, ordered his head to be struck off, and 
there issued therefrom blood, and a white liquor like 

St. Hermolaus was the next victim. 1 At his prayers 
an earthquake shook the entire city, and all the idols 
were laid prostrate ; whereupon Maximilian thought it 
advisable to despatch him at once, and he was accord 
ingly beheaded. 

The relics of St. Pantaleon were translated to Con 
stantinople, and afterwards brought into France. At 
Ravello, a city in the kingdom of Naples, there is a vial 
of his blood, which becomes liquid every year, and may 
be seen in this state interspersed with the milk, as I, the 
author of this work, have seen it. 



October 12. 

HUNERIC, king of the Vandals, having resolved to ex 
tinguish the Catholic religion in Africa, and to establish 
there the Arian heresy, by one decree alone banished 
bishops, priests, and other ecclesiastics, 2 to the number 
of four thousand nine hundred and seventy-six. Among 
these was St. Felix, Bishop of Abbir, who being afflicted 
with paralysis, could neither walk nor speak. Some 
persons were so moved to compassion for the helpless 

1 St. Hermolaus and his two companions, Hermippus and Hermoc- 
rates, suffered before St. Pantaleon. En. 
* See Chapters XVII. and LXXI. 

i 2 

Martyrs of the I^irsl Ages. [PART i. 

state of the venerable prelate, that they besought the 
king to let him die at Carthage ; but he replied : " If 
Felix cannot sit upon a horse, you may tie him to two 
oxen, who will drag him to the place of his banishment." 
He was accordingly fastened upon a mule and so borne 
away, not without exciting the compassion of all who 
beheld him. 

The other holy confessors who had been condemned 
to banishment were to be driven into the desert by the 
Moors ; and the two officers to whom this barbarous 
commission had been given thought that they could in 
duce these persecuted ecclesiastics to submit to the 
washes of the king. This proposal having been rejected 
with horror, they were shut up in prison, where, how 
ever, they were at first treated with comparative lenity, 
as the Catholics were permitted to visit them, and to 
bring them some nourishment. 

This indulgence was afterwards not only denied, but 
the confessors were crowded into dark and narrow dun 
geons, so that the filth and noisomeness of the place 
was absolutely intolerable. St. Victor Vitensis, by 
bribing the Moors, obtained a few interviews with the 
sufferers, whom he endeavored thus to console ; and he 
assures us that upon entering he had to stand up to 
his knees in filth. Notwithstanding all the hardships 
which these true lovers of Jesus Christ had to endure, 
and although many of them had died from this cause, 
and many of hunger, yet did the constancy of the sur 
vivors remain unshaken. 

The time appointed for their departure having ar 
rived, they were led out, from what might be more 
properly called sewers than dungeons, to be driven for 
ward by the Moors ; and although their clothes and 
faces were besmeared with filth, they nevertheless man- 

1 Our author means the aboriginal inhabitants, now called " Ber 
bers." ED. 

CH. LXXV.] St, Felix and Companions, 313 

ifested a holy joy, while they chanted from the 
Psalm : " This glory is unto all his saints." The roads 
through which they passed wene lined with Catholics, 
who had repaired thither, many of them bearing lighted 
tapers, as if to honor their triumph, and others bring 
ing their children to kiss the ground that had been 
trodden by the martyrs. Among the pious sufferers 
were many children who had been employed in the ser 
vice of the churches ; and these were followed by their 
mothers, some of whom rejoiced at being thus made 
the parents of martyrs, while others, influenced by car 
nal affection, in vain endeavored to prevail on the chil 
dren to consent to Arianism. Among the former was 
an aged matron, who carried a bag with some bread in 
one hand, and was leading a boy by the other, while 
she said to him : " Hasten, my child, hasten. Dost thou 
not see how joyously the martyrs hurry towards the 
crown ?" Being asked why she said so, she answered : 
" Pray for me, I beseech ye, pray for me, and for this 
my little grandson. I come with this child into exile, 
in order that the enemy find him not alone, and so pre 
cipitate him into hell." 

Meanwhile the barbarians hurried the holy confessors 
towards the desert ; and, as the old men and children 
were unable to keep pace with the rest, they were 
goaded on with spears and pelted with stones. But the 
more they were harassed, the less able they were to ac 
complish their task ; so that this gave occasion to an 
other diabolical cruelty, for they were tied by the feet 
and dragged over stones and briers. Many expired in 
this way ; and indeed they were only the most robust 
that arrived, worn and lacerated, at the place of their 

This was a desert, tilled with serpents and most ven 
omous scorpions, but they did no harm to any of the 

314 Martyrs of the First Ages. [PARTI. 

servants of God. They were for some time supported 
here with barley, like beasts, but even of this food they 
were afterwards deprived. Yet St. Victor, who wrote 
a history of this persecution, and was himself one of the 
persecuted bishops, observes that the Lord did not fail 
to succor his servants when they were deprived of every 
human aid. 


iHartnrs of Sapan. 


I WILL add here the victories of those martyrs who in 
the islands of Japan suffered death in order to profess 
their faith in Jesus Christ. In giving their history I 
have selected the most heroic and the most wonderful 
traits by which they signalized their zeal for the Chris 
tian religion. I trust that my readers will be very well 
pleased to see in the midst of a barbarous nation so 

1 This notice is wanting in several Italian editions ; we find it in the 
Turin edition of 1831. St. Alphonsus seems to have based his narrative 
on the work of Father Crasset, " History of the Church in Japan," pub 
lished at first under the pseudonym of " M. 1 Abbe T." 

The empire of Japan, situated northwest of China, is composed of a 
great number of islands, the area of which is about the same as that of 
California, which lies due east, and its population is nearly equal to that 
of the United States. Its capital is Tokio, formerly called Jedo. Al 
though within the last half-century the Japanese have been compelled 
to change their foreign policy, and have even sent several embassies to 
Europe, still, as late as 1870, 4000 Christians from one valley alone 
were exiled for their faith. 

It was on the isth of August, 1549, triat St - Francis Xavier landed in 
Japan to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Forty years afterwards 
there were seen a great number of servants of the true God in every con 
dition of life, some of them even near the throne ; the Christian religion 
was dominant in several kingdoms, so that towards the beginning of the 
1 7th century, according to trustworthy writers, the church in Japan 
numbered two million Catholics. ED. 

316 The Martyrs of ^fapan. [PART n. 

many Christians, men, women, children, old people 
after they had embraced the faith, seeking with eager 
ness the opportunity to die for Jesus Christ, and mani 
festing their joy at being able to suffer for him the most 
cruel torments. 

In obedience to the decree of Urban VIII. I protest 
that in giving the appellation of Saint or Martyr to any 
servant of God, I only intend to do so according to the 
usage and opinion of men, since it is reserved to the 
Church to decree by divine authority these titles, when 
it shall please the Lord. 






OUR European priests who undertook to evangelize 
Japan were at first very successful ; but in the year 
1586 God made known by several signs the approach of 
a long and bloody persecution that was menacing the 
rising church. Among these signs the following is par 
ticularly remarkable : 

The King of Arima, named Protasius 1 , a good and 
zealous Christian, had a vision in which there appeared 
to him two persons of celestial exterior, who thus spoke 
to him : "Know that on the lands over which you rule 
the sign of Jesus is found ; honor and love it much, for 

1 Protasius was his baptismal name, and he took the name of John 
whsn he received confirmation. We may read about his heroic death in 
Chapter VII. En 

CHAP, i.] Miraculous Cross. Joram Macama. 3 1 / 

it is not the work of man." Six months afterwards, it 
happened that a fervent Christian, by the name of Leo, 
from the neighborhood of Arima, sent his son Michael to 
the woods for the purpose of cutting firewood. On his 
arrival the young man perceived a tree that was some 
what dried up, of the kind called in that country Tara ; 
he cut it down, split it in two, and found inserted in the 
middle of it a cross of a brown color and of a regular 
form. At the sight of this prodigy every one was struck 
with astonishment. As soon as the king heard of this, 
he went himself to the place, and on seeing the cross he 
cried out : " Behold the sign of Jesus, that I was told 
was hidden in my dominions, and that was not made 
by the hand of man." He then fell on his knees, 
and after having venerated it amidst many tears, 
he had it carried to Arima, where by his order it was 
framed in a magnificent crystal. This miraculous cross 
brought about the conversion of twenty thousand idola 
trous inhabitants of this country. 

But let us return to the martyrs. The persecution 
begun by the emperor in 1587 became about three 
years afterwards very sanguinary in the Christian king 
dom of Bungo ; and the first victory that I find de 
scribed in Japan is that of a good old man of Funai, 
named Joram Macama. He was a soldier when he em 
braced Christianity, and afterwards converted his whole 
family ; he subsequently spent his time in instructing 
the pagans and aiding the faithful. The King of Bungo 
having apostatized, commanded three of his officers to 
put him to death. They went in search of him ; but 
fearing the valor of which Joram had given proofs in 
war, they took with them by way of precaution an escort 
of one hundred men. Anticipating their arrival, Joram 
took leave of his wife and children, sent them to another 
place and remained alone in the house, preparing him 
self for death. He did not even wish to keep his sword 

3 1 8 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

near him, and the night in which he was to die he spent 
in prayer before the crucifix. 

Towards midnight the soldiers approached the house 
to see whether he was armed. The saintly old man, 
perceiving them, told them that they had nothing to fear, 
because, far from fleeing from them, he was waiting for 
them. He then took a cross in his hand, placed a rosary 
around his neck, and having knelt down gave thanks to 
God for allowing him to die for his name, and even 
thanked the soldiers, because by the death-blow they 
were going to give him they would procure for him 
eternal happiness. Then having received three stabs in 
his breast, he presented his neck, and while pronouncing 
the names of Jesus and Mary three blows of the cimeter 
deprived him of life. The faithful hastened to take 
away his body and to bury it. This so enraged the king 
that he put to death the wife and children of the valiant 
martyr, as also many other Christians. 

The tyrant by these first acts of cruelty inspired the 
Christians with great fear ; when, however, they heard 
of the noble death of Joram and of other Christians, 
especially of that of another Christian named Joachim, 
who had also been put to death by the king, instead of 
being intimidated they appeared publicly with the ro 
sary around the neck, testifying thereby that far from 
fearing death they had a longing for it. A woman 
named Mary, to whom the king before his apostasy had 
made a present of a rosary, had the courage to wear it 
in the palace before his very eyes. The prince having 
asked the reason why she did so, she answered : "Sire, 
the presents of kings must be highly esteemed ; it was 
your Majesty who gave me this rosary, and I glory in 
wearing it." The tyrant seeing the Christians so reso 
lute, and fearing that a tumult might arise, was content 
for the present to conceal the hatred that he bore them, 
in order to revenge himself at a more favorable time. 

CHAP, n.i Martyrs Crucified at Nangasaki. 319 






TAICOSAMA having in 1582 ascended the imperial 
throne, was at first favorable to the missionaries; but 
four or five years afterwards, beginning to distrust and 
to hate them exceedingly, he published an edict which 
proscribed the Christian religion in his whole empire. 
He did not, however, push to extremes; for during sev 
eral years he contented himself with forbidding all re 
ligious manifestations, and the faith continued to be 
propagated unnoticed. 

On December 9, 1596, feeling again incensed against 
the servants of the true God, the emperor ordered the 
governor of Meaco, as also the governor of Ozaca, 
where the religious of St. Francis were establi^ied, to 
arrest these Fathers and to draw up a list of the Chris 
tians who frequented their churches. Here follows 
what Father Peter Baptist, the Superior of the Francis 
cans, wrote at that time to a religious of his Order: 
" The first day on which guards were placed before our 
door the Christians confessed and passed the whole 
night in prayer ; for we had been informed that we 
were to be put to death on the following day. I gave 
Holy Communion to all our brethren, as if for the last 
time. Then each one provided himself with a cross to 
carry in the hand while going to the place of execution. 
Our Christians filled me with consolation by the ardent 
desire which they displayed to die for Jesus Christ. 

320 Tkc Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

When the news spread that the latter had been con 
demned to death, many others came from different 
places to join them. We must once die, they said. 
We all desire that this may be for the glory of God, and 
we pray him to give us the grace to do so ; help us to 
obtain this from the divine Goodness. 

During this time were witnessed a large number of 
wonderful examples, some of which we will now quote. 

Prince Ucondono, a distinguished general, to whom 
Taicosama was indebted for his empire, was living for 
six years in exile, because he had refused to abjure his 
faith. He had been stripped of his dignities, deprived 
of his estates, his old father, his wife, and his large 
family sharing in the same privations ; yet they es 
teemed themselves happy in being able to suffer for 
Jesus Christ. When he heard of the persecution, he 
took leave of the king of Canga, under whose super 
vision he had been placed and whose friendship he en 
joyed on account of his great virtue. The latter as 
sured him that the court was not thinking of him ; but 
the noble Ucondono answered : " My dear prince, the 
greatest happiness in which I can delight in this world 
is to die for the faith that 1 profess. Whatever may be 
the assurance that you give me, I am going to prepare 
myself for death." He immediately set out for Meaco. 

The fervor of the two sons of Genifonio, who was a 
pagan and prime-minister of the emperor, and who was 
ignorant of the fact that his sons had received baptism, 
was not less great than that of Prince Justus Ucondono. 

The elder son, aged twenty years, was named Paul 
Sacondono. He enjoyed the favor of the emperor, and 
was commander of a fortress that was far away from 
the capital. Having heard that all the Fathers, as well 
as the bishops, had been arrested, and that all the Chris 
tians were to be put to death, lie at once dispatched 
two couriers, one to Meaco and the other to Ozaca, in 

CHAP, i i.i Martyrs Crucified at Nangasaki. 321 

order to assure himself of the truth. While waiting he 
began to reflect on the best means to attain martyrdom. 
He at first thought of showing himself publicly at the 
capital, so as to be arrested ; but fearing that no one 
would dare to lay his hand upon him if he were seen 
clad in his ordinary costume, he had his hair cut off and 
disguised himself as an ecclesiastic, being resolved to 
appear there with eight of his faithful Christian ser 
vants. Only one among them showed any sign of incon 
stancy, because he had been but recently baptized. 
Sacondono advised him not to expose himself with the 
others; but he generously answered: " My lord, I well 
know what the eternal salvation of my soul is worth ; 
since martyrdom is the shortest road to gain it, I pre 
fer it, and I make no more account of my life than I do 
of the dust under my feet." Satisfied with this answer 
the young lord went to his room, where, prostrate on 
the floor, he prayed fervently to God to make him 
worthy to die for the love of him. Then he wrote to 
his parents to inform them that he was a Christian, and 
that he had formed the resolution to die for his faith. 
In this disposition he made a general confession, and 
prepared himself for death. 

His brother s name was Constantine. He arrived at 
Meaco with one of his cousins named Michael, where he 
received the fatal news. He cried out : " Oh we have 
just come in time to be martyrs." He immediately 
went to Fucino, where his father was, and declared to 
him that he was a Christian. The minister, who tender 
ly loved his son, was astonished ; he took him aside and 
said to him : "But, my son, if the emperor commands 
me to put to death all Christians, it will be necessary 
for me to make you die with them." Constantine an 
swered : "My father, I have declared to you that I am 
a Christian, not that I may avoid death, but that you 
may regulate your affairs. As for me, I am ready to 

322 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

die by the hand of the executioner, and even by your 
own hand, rather than disobey God ; you certainly do 
not wish, I think, that I should cast myself into hell 
merely to please a prince." Genifonio communicated 
this source of affliction to his wife, and both were 
plunged into the deepest grief. Michael happening to 
call upon his sorrowing aunt, she entreated him to use 
every effort to dissuade Constantine from rushing head 
long to so premature a death. Nevertheless both re 
turned to Meaco in order to find there an opportunity 
to be inscribed on the list of martyrs. 

About this time two other gentlemen came to Meaco 
to sacrifice their lives for the faith ; and not having 
been able to obtain what they desired, they begged 
their friends to notify them when the favorable moment 
should arrive. 

We must also make mention of a gentleman of Bun- 
go, named Andrew Ongazavara, who after the martyr 
dom of the saintly Joram, of whom we have spoken in the 
previous chapter, carried off at night the cross that the 
latter wore around his neck. Since that time he lived 
retired at Ozaca with his old father, his wife, and his 
young child. When this brave man learned that a list 
was being made up of Christians who were doomed to 
die, he not only courageously prepared himself for 
death, but he also advised his own father to prepare for 
death, although he was eighty years of age, and had 
been baptized only six months before. He had been all 
his life a redoubtable warrior, and was still vigorous. 
Andrew exhorted him to gain the palm of martyrdom 
by informing him that it was gained not by the force of 
arms, but by humility and patience. " But," cried out 
the old soldier indignantly, "may a man of honor allow 
himself to be killed like a coward ?" Andrew, knowing 
that all this pride came from his little knowledge of 
Christian maxims, said to him : " My dear father, you 

CHAP, ii.] Martyrs Crucified at Nangasaki. 323 

have given too many proofs of your valor; for no one 
will think of reproaching you with cowardice, if you 
give your life for Jesus Christ without defending it. 
If, however, this manner of acting does not please you, 
retire at least for a short time into the country; you 
will there preserve your life and honor." Becoming 
yet more indignant, the old man replied that he had 
always been incapable of such baseness, which would 
be worse than the first offer that had been made him, 
for to do such a thing would look as if he were fleeing 
to save his life. Andrew, however, saw that his object 
was attained in another way ; for the good old man, 
filled with emotion, entered the apartments of his 
daughter-in-law, whom he found occupied in working 
at her festive garments ; he also perceived the servants 
preparing their rosaries, crosses, and reliquaries for the 
day of their martyrdom. He asked what all this signi 
fied, and they informed him with a joyful air that all 
were preparing themselves to die for Jesus Christ. 
These few words and their example made such an im 
pression on his mind, that, renouncing the maxims of 
the world, he also took a rosary, and said that he 
wished to die with them. 

We may also see at this time the generosity of several 
Christian women of Meaco. Having learned that the 
persecution had been proclaimed, they assembled at the 
house of one of them, named Mary, in order to be al 
ways prepared for martyrdom ; and each one had taken 
care to take with her her nuptial garment, that is, the 
garment in which she wished to die. There was a 
person of very high rank, who, fearing that she would on 
this account escape being prosecuted by the law, went 
secretly to Mary s house, in order to die with the rest. 
Mary had living with her an adopted child, named 
Gratia, ten years of age ; she endeavored to persuade 
her to return to her father s house in order to avert the 

324 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

danger of being crucified ; but the child answered with 
firmness : " No ; I wish to die with you, because I am a 
Christian. Have no fear for me ; as long as I shall be 
with you I shall not fear death." Mary was greatly 
consoled to hear such language from the mouth of her 
dear child, which was an effect of divine grace. Being 
quite ready, one of the women said to her companions : 
" I am resolved to die for the faith ; but if you ever see 
me tremble at the sight of death, I beg you to drag me 
forcibly before the executioners, in order that I may 
not fail in having a share in your crown." 

Such were the dispositions of these fervent neophytes 
at the moment when it was believed that all the faithful 
were going to be nailed to the cross ; but as to the ma 
jority of them, Heaven was satisfied with their good 
will. The governor of Meaco, though a pagan, tried his 
utmost to mitigate the sanguinary order that the em 
peror had given him, and he finally succeeded in having 
the number reduced to twenty-four. The emperor had 
commanded that their noses and ears should be cut off ; 
but the governor had only the end of the left ear cut 
off. This was done January 3, 1597, in the grand 
square of Meaco. The twenty-four condemned persons 
were then placed upon eight carts, and were ignomini- 
ously conducted through the streets, being preceded by 
an officer who carried at the end of a pike a sign on 
which could be read the sentences pronounced against 
them, because they had preached Christian doctrine 
that was proscribed in the empire. The entire popula 
tion was moved to tears on seeing the modesty, sweet 
ness, and even joy of these pretended criminals, so 
that their humiliation was changed into a triumph. 
Many Christians went so far as to beg the soldiers to 
put them among the number of the condemned, that 
they might die with them ; but the favor was refused. 
When the martyrs had returned to the prison they rap- 

CHAP. ii. i Martyrs Crucified at Nangasaki. 325 

turously embraced one another, rejoicing at the happy 
death that awaited them. This filled the guards with 
astonishment, and made them say : " What kind of men 
are these who rejoice amidst torments and every sort 
of insult ?" 

On the following day, January 4, they were placed 
upon beasts of burden, to be transported to Nangasaki, 
the place of execution, where they arrived after a jour 
ney lasting a month. While passing through Ozaca 
and Sacaia, they were exposed as at Meaco to the gaze 
of the people ; but the effect produced was quite con 
trary to what their enemies expected. In this long 
journey the severity of the season added not a little to 
the sufferings of these holy martyrs , jet a large num 
ber of the faithful accompanied them, bestowing upon 
them everywhere marks of sympathy and veneration. 
Peter Sukegiro and Francis Fahelente, two fervent 
Christians, had not ceased for an instant to follow them, 
and with an invincible courage to assist them in their 
wants. Their faith and their charity were handsomely 
rewarded ; for the guards, seeing that nothing could 
repel them, concluded to make them prisoners and to 
add their names to the list of the condemned. Thus 
was the number of martyrs increased to twenty-six. 

They arrived at Nangasaki on February 4. On the 
following day they were conducted to a hill situated 
near the city, where the instruments of death had been 
prepared. When they saw the crosses that were des 
tined for them on their Calvary, these courageous ath 
letes gave themselves up to transports of joy, and each 
one hastened to place himself at his post. Their limbs 
and the middle of the body were then tied to their 
crosses with cords, according to the custom of the 
country ; a collar of iron was put round their necks ; 
afterwards the crosses were raised simultaneously and 
fixed in the ground, all being in one row, with their 

326 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART IT. 

faces turned to the south, in the direction of the city. 
Father Peter Baptist intoned the canticle Benedictus, 
and his companions joined their voices to his. Soon 
after, each one was pierced with two lances which, 
thrust into the sides, crossed each other in the breast 
and came out at the shoulders. At this moment a 
large number of the faithful who had surrounded the 
hill, uttering cries and saying, u Jesus, Mary," made 
their way through the line of the soldiers, entering the 
enclosure, to gather up the blood of the martyrs with 
cloths and procure for themselves a part of their gar 
ments. We are told that, a heavenly light was shining 
above their bodies, and that for a long time many stars 
appeared over the hill. 1 

1 These twenty-six martyrs, beatified in 1627 by Pope Urban VIII., 
were canonized by Pius IX., June 8, 1862, on the feast of Pentecost, 
in the presence of about three hundred bishops who had come from all 
parts of the world. Their feast is fixed for the 5th of February, the 
day on which they consummated their sacrifice. The following are 
their names and their rank : 

Six Franciscan Religious ; namely, the three priests, Fathers Peter 
Baptist, aged fifty-two ; Martin de Aguirre, or of the Ascension, aged 
thirty; and Francis Blanco, aged thirty all Spaniards ; one cleric, 
Philip of Jesus or Las Casas, aged twenty-three, born in Mexico ; two 
lay-brothers, Francis of St. Michael, aged fifty-four, a Spaniard, and 
Gonzalvo Garcia, aged twenty-five, born in the Indies of Portuguese 

Seventeen Japanese who, before going to execution, were received 
into the Third Order of St. Francis ; namely, Michael Cozaki and his 
son Thomas, aged fourteen ; Anthony, aged thirteen ; Paul Ibarki and 
his younger brother, Leo Garazuma, with their nephew Louis, a boy 
of eleven ; Paul Suzuki ; Francis, a physician of Meaco, aged forty- 
six; Come Toja or Takia ; Thomas Danki ; Bonaventure or Ventura ; 
Gabriel, aged nineteen ; John Kisnia or Kimoia ; Joachim Saquir or 
Saccakibara, aged forty ; Matthias, a substitute for another of the 
same name; Francis Fahelente, Peter Sukegiro, 

Three Japanese Jesuits, namely, Father Paul Miki, aged thirty- 
three, with two novices, John de Goto, aged nineteen, and James Kisai, 
aged sixty-four, who made their vows on the very day of their martyr- 

CHAP, ii.] Martyrs Crucified at Nangasaki. 327 

We might relate many interesting particulars about 
each one of these glorious soldiers of Jesus Christ, but 
we must be brief. We cannot, however, pass over in 
silence what concerns the three youngest of them ; 
namely, Thomas, of about fourteen years of age ; An 
thony, aged thirteen ; and Louis, who was eleven years 
old. They used to serve at the altar at the church of 
the Franciscans, and might have gone away when the 
list of the condemned was published, but they desired 
nothing so much as the palm of martyrdom. They 
were together on the same cart when, with the end of 
the ear cut off, they were conducted through the streets 
of Meaco. With their hands tied behind them, these 
three young confessors began to sing, with a radiant 
countenance and with a penetrating voice, the Pater 
noster and the Ave Maria. This spectacle moved all 

Thomas was the son of Michael Cozaki, one of the 
twenty-six martyrs. His father had written to him 
that, being resolved to die, he left him heir of all his 
property ; but the saintly young man came at once to 
see him, and represented to him that it was not just to 
-make him the heir of earthly goods by excluding him 
from those that he was going to possess in heaven, and 
he declared that he was determined to die with him. 
Thomas had also the happiness of going to heaven with 
his father, his head encircled with the same crown. 

Anthony, born at Nangasaki, met his father and his 
mother, who subjected him to a violent temptation. 
They were Christians, and when they saw their dear 
child on the point of being crucified, they permitted 
themselves to be overcome by natural affection, and 

dom. The Jesuits had not then been included in the sentence of con 
demnation ; but the governor of Ozaka had these three arrested as they 
were in the city, and joined them to the Franciscans, against whom 
this persecution was chiefly directed. ED. 

328 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

began to conjure him with tears to dissimulate for a 
little while. "You wish then," said the young hero, 
" that in order to preserve this life that lasts only a 
moment, I should lose life eternal ? Ah ! cease to tempt 
me by your discourses and your complaints. I am 
resolved to die for Jesus Christ." Having spoken 
thus, he left his parents, refused with the same firmness 
the offers of a magistrate whom this scene had deeply 
moved, and gave himself up to the executioners. When 
he was raised upon the cross he found himself by the 
side of Father Peter Baptist ; and after the hymn Bene- 
dictus he begged him to intone the psalm Laudate Pueri 
Dominum. But the holy religious, who was absorbed in 
an ecstasy, not answering him, he intoned it himself, and 
continued it as far as the Gloria Patri, which he was 
going to chant forever in paradise, having had at this 
moment his heart pierced with the lance. 

Little Louis, who had been baptized only a few days 
before, showed no less courage. The officers of the law 
had at first refused to put his name on the list ; but by 
dint of crying and begging he succeeded in having his 
name inscribed. His face, which was radiant with joy, 
attracted in the streets of Meaco the attention of all, 
and deeply moved the spectators. The under-governor 
of Nangasaki, who was charged with presiding at the 
execution, wished to set him free, provided he would 
renounce the Christian religion. u On such a con 
dition," Louis replied, " I do not desire to live ; since 
for this short and miserable life I should lose a happy 
and eternal life." It is said that as soon as he saw his 
cross he ran to embrace it, as if he had found an object 
that was most dear to him. He died with an angelic air, 
by the side of Anthony. Further on we shall see other 
wonderful victories gained by children. 

CHAP, iii.i John Minami, Simon Taquenda. 329 




IN the year 1598, at the age of sixty-four, the emperor 
Taicosama died, well deserving the fires of hell, since he 
had shed so much blood of the faithful servants of Jesus 
Christ. He had given orders that after his death he 
should be ranked among the gods. As his successor he 
left a son scarcely six years old, under the tutelage of 
six regents of the empire. At the head of this regency 
was Daifusama, who profited by his position gradually 
to usurp the imperial power, and, as we shall see, sur 
passed his predecessor in cruelty 1 

Daifusama at first believed it to be the best policy to 
treat the Christians like the rest of his subjects until he 
could see his authority well established. During the 
first years of his reign there were only local persecu 
tions that were carried on by secondary tyrants. In 
1603, the king of Fingo, named Canzugedono, wishing to 
compel the nobility of Jateudixiro to deny the Christian 
faith, the magistrates of this city forcibly dragged into 
the house of a bonze, a gentleman named John Minami, 
in order to place upon his head the book of his sect; for 
this was a sign of apostasy. Magdalen, the wife of the 

1 Nevertheless the Christian religion, during the regency, which lasted 
four years, and before Daifusama became the sole ruler, had spread 
rapidly, for the Jesuits converted in two years seventy thousand Japa 
nese. En. 

330 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

persecuted gentleman, a fervent Christian, followed her 
husband, crying out: " Take care, my dear John, what 
you do; if you become faithless to your religion, I will 
neither speak to you nor see you any more, and I will 
renounce you as my husband." When the bonze, who 
was seated on a kind of throne, raised the volume to 
place it on John s head, the servant of God, not being 
able to do anything else, spit upon the infamous book. 
One of his friends by the name of Simon Taquenda 
offered a similar resistance, and refused to go to the 
house of the bonze. The king being informed of what 
had happened, ordered the governor to have them 
beheaded, and to have all the members of their families 

As soon as Minami heard of the fate that was awaiting 
him, he presented himself to the governor. The latter 
made every effort to gain him over, but could not shake 
his constancy; he then showed him the order of the 
the king, and saintly man declared that he desired noth 
ing so much as to sacrifice his life for the God whom he 
adored. Thereupon he was led into a large hall, where 
he had to leave his sword; passing then still farther, he 
was taken in charge by three soldiers, and there appeared 
upon the scene two executioners armed with cutlasses. 
John knelt down, presented his neck, and pronounced 
the holy names of Jesus and Mary; he received four 
blows that cut off his head, December 8, in the thirty- 
first year of his age. 

On the same day the governor went to the house of 
Simon Taquenda, who was his intimate friend, to per 
suade him to show some sign of submission to the will 
of the king. As soon as the governor saw him he burst 
into tears ; Simon, greatly moved, could not restrain his 
own, and they thus remained for some time without 
speaking. The governor tried in vain to shake his friend, 
when Jane, the mother of Simon, entering, he said to 

CHAP. 1 1 i.i John Minami, Simon Taquenda. 331 

her: " Your son refuses to follow my counsel, preserve 
him and his whole family from death, and do not force 
me to imbrue my hands in his blood." But his noble 
mother replied to him with firmness: "If there were 
questions only of terrestrial goods, your counsel would 
be good; but, when eternal goods are in question, we 
must not prefer a transitory life to a felicity that has no 
end. I envy the happiness of my son, and if I could I 
would follow him with joy." 

This language stung the governor to the quick, and 
took away from him all hope of overcoming the con 
stancy of his friend. He thereupon withdrew and com 
municated to an officer, a relative of Simon, that this 
gentleman had been condemned to death, and that he 
charged him on the part of the king with the duty to go 
and behead him in his house. This officer went to the 
house of his relative, rapped at the door, for it was 
already night, found the servant of God in prayer, and 
made known to him the contents of the written order of 
which he was the bearer. " You could not have brought 
me," said Simon to him, "more pleasant news; only 
allow me a few moments to prepare myself for death." 
This delay was granted him. 

The pious gentleman went at once to prostrate him 
self before an image of our Lord crowned with thorns. 
After his prayer he visited his mother and his wife, and 
apprised them of his approaching death. These women, 
without being disturbed, ordered the domestics to pre 
pare some water, according to the custom the Japanese 
had of washing themselves when they were invited to a 
banquet. Simon, having finished his ablutions, put 
on his richest garments and took leave of his mother 
and of his wife, not forgetting his servants. When the 
latter began to cry and utter lamentations, he said to 
them: "What! do you not rejoice at my happiness? 
where is your faith ? where is the Christian virtue of 

33 2 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

which you have shown proofs up to the present time ?" 
Then his wife, whose name was Agnes, throwing her 
self at his feet, begged him to cut off her hair. "In 
this way," she said, "if I survive you, people may not 
think that I ever wish to have another husband." Simon 
at first refused the request, but finally yielded at the 
entreaties of his mother. 

He afterwards arranged that three members of the 
confraternity 1 of Mary should meet him, and to them 
he spoke thus: " My dear confreres, what a happiness is 
mine to be able to die as a martyr of Jesus Christ ! 
What have I done to merit this grace ? " " Yes," replied 
one of them, named Joachim, " you are happy. Pray to 
God, when you are in heaven, to make us share in your 
glory." All knelt down; Simon recited the Confiteor, 
and the Our Father and Hail Mary three times; then he 
remained silent for some time, conversing interiorly with 
his God. His prayer finished, he arose, had the crucifix 
brought in and the candle lit, took his mother by one 
hand and his wife by the other, and spoke to them the 
following words: "I bid you a final farewell; I shall no 
longer see you in this world, but I count upon seeing you 
soon in heaven. I go before you to pave the way for 
you; I shall pray God to permit you to participate in 
this happiness, and to call you soon to paradise." After 
this they proceeded to the hall where the sacrifice was 
to be consummated. One of the associates carried the 
crucifix, the two others accompanied him with burning 
candles, and the martyr followed them, holding by the 
hand his mother and his wife. Then followed the 
domestics, plunged in the deepest sorrow. 

Having reached the hall, the martyr fell upon his 
knees before the image of the Saviour; his mother 

1 These were noblemen who devoted themselves to the exercise of 
charity, and who were known by the name of Gifiaqui; we shall see 
their glorious end, as related in Chapter V. ED. 

CHAP, in.] John Minami and Simon Taquenda. 333 

and his wife withdrew a little aside; then all made the 
sign of the, Cross and recited the Confiteor, and three 
times the Our Father and Hail Mary. At this moment 
a gentleman, a friend of Simon, entered to bid him fare 
well; his name was Figida, and he had unfortunately 
denied his faith. Filled with remorse on witnessing 
this spectacle, although he did not dare to confess his 
repentance at that time, he asked his friend as a favor 
for a bead of a blessed rosary. Simon gave it to him 
on condition that he would return to Jesus Christ; this 
the gentleman promised to do. Finally, the martyr 
having recommended himself to God for the last time, 
pulled down the collar of his garment, saluted the 
image of the Saviour by bowing down with his forehead 
to the ground, and, pronouncing the names of Jesus and 
Mary, offered his head to the executioner, who cut it off 
with one blow. One of the associates took it up at once, 
and placed it upon his own as a mark of veneration. All 
those that were present uttered a cry at the moment the 
fatal blow was struck; but the mother and the wife of 
the martyr appeared to be unmoved, and were silent. 
Some time afterwards, the mother took the head of 
her son, kissed it several times, and said: "O beauti 
ful head, now crowned with glory ! O happy Simon, 
you have given your life to Him who gave his own for 
you ! My God, who didst sacrifice Thy Son for the love 
of me, receive my son, who sacrificed himself for Thee." 
Agnes also approached, kissed the head of her dear 
husband while moistening it with her tears, and said: 
" As for myself, I am satisfied; I have a martyr husband 
who is now in heaven. O Simon ! call me as soon as 
possible to you, to see and praise with you the Lord 
our God." 

Simon Taquenda died, like John Minami, at the age of 
thirty-five, December 9, two hours before daybreak. The 
soldiers who guarded his body testified to having seen, 

334 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

during that same night, a great light descending from 
heaven and resting above the house of the martyr. 

When the two women, Jane and Agnes, had withdrawn, 
Figida, the converted gentleman, came to visit them; 
and finding them in tears, said to them: " How is it that 
you, who showed so much constancy while seeing your 
dear Simon die, now when he is no more you give your 
selves up to lamentations?" They answered that what 
made them weep was because they were still in this life, 
and because they feared that they would not be thought 
worthy of martyrdom. Figida, in order to console them, 
informed them that Magdalen, the widow of Minami, had 
already been condemned to death, and added that they 
should not expect to receive better treatment. On hear 
ing this news both fell on their knees to thank God, 
and their sorrow disappeared. They now had the 
courage to ask the governor to let them die with the 
virtuous Magdalen, and this request was granted them. 

In fact, towards evening Magdalen was led into the 
house with a child of about seven years of age, named 
Louis, who was a nephew of Minami, and whom she 
had adopted as her son. When they found themselves 
together, they tenderly embraced each other, happy to 
die like Jesus Christ on the Cross, according to the order 
given by the emperor. Then Magdalen, turning towards 
little Louis, who had been condemned to die with her, 
told him to prepare himself to depart for heaven, and 
recommended to him above all not to cease, when he 
would be on the cross, to repeat till his death the words: 
"Jesus and Mary." The child answered: "My dear 
mother, I will not forget to do so as long as I am alive." 

At night they were informed that they would have to 
start for the place of execution. They appeared attired 
in their finest garments, recommended themselves to 
God, and set out on the journey. Three palanquins, 
each carried by two men, were awaiting them at the 

CHAP, in.] John Minami and Simon Taquenda. 335 

door. Little Louis was placed with his mother. When 
they approached the place where the crosses had been 
prepared, Agnes said: "Jesus, my Saviour, went on foot 
to Mount Calvary, and should I be carried thither in a 
litter!" She wished to descend from the palanquin, but 
she was prevented from doing so, as she was told that 
the officers would not permit such a thing. Having 
finally reached their crosses they knelt down to venerate 

The first that was crucified was the heroic Jane, the 
mother of Simon. She spoke thus from the height of 
the cross to the crowd that had surrounded her: "About 
to appear before God to render to him an account of all 
my actions, I confess that the Christian religion is the 
only one in which you can save your soul; open your 
eyes, and renounce the false divinities. And you, O 
Christians, do not allow yourselves to be unsettled by 
the spectacle of our death; there is nothing sweeter than 
to die for him who died for us." The executioner in 
terrupted her at these words by striking her with the 
lance. The first blow w r as not mortal, but the second 
deprived her of life, and thus enabled her to receive the 
heavenly crown. , 

It was then Magdalen s turn. Little Louis, seeing his 
mother bound, offered himself to be also bound to the 
cross. The executioners raised him on the small cross 
prepared for him opposite to his mother, who then said 
to him: "My son, we are going to heaven; take courage, 
and always say: Jesus! Mary!" While the child was 
repeating these sacred names, the executioner struck at 
him with his lance, but missed him; and the little lamb 
received tranquilly the second blow, which caused his 
death. Immediately afterwards, the same executioner 
withdrawing the iron, quite red with the blood of the 
child, plunged it into the heart of the mother, and thus 
united the two victims. 

336 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n, 

There remained yet the innocent Agnes, who having 
descended from the palanquin, remained kneeling before 
her cross, and recommended herself to God. The exe 
cutioners, moved to tears, had not the heart to approach 
and to tie her to the cross, although she begged them 
to discharge their duty, and while waiting for them 
placed herself on that cruel instrument. Then some 
idolaters, urged on by the inducement of receiving a re 
ward, took courage to take the place of the executioners, 
but when it became necessary to pierce the victims, not 
having had any experience, they succeeded in taking 
away her life only by repeated blows. 

Many persons worthy of belief attested having seen a 
resplendent light over the bodies of the four martyrs at 
the moment in which they gave up their souls to God. 
Their history was written by Louis Cerqueyra, Bishop of 

After their death the governor was more enraged than 
before against the Christians; but God permitted that 
he should fall into disgrace with the king, who deprived 
him of his office, and ordered him to appear to render 
an account of his actions. It is thus that the Lord 
punishes those who, to please princes, sully their souls; 
they lose at the same time their souls and the favor of 
their -master. 






DURING the persecution of which we have just spoken, 
a youth, who was a Christian, named James Sacoiama, 

CHAP, iv.] Me Ichior Bugendono and others. 337 

and only fourteen years old, had gone with his mothei 
to live in the kingdom of Saxuma. As he was of fine 
appearance and possessed much intelligence, the king 
grew very fond of him, and even thought of giving him 
as wife a princess of his family. One day the king com 
municated to him what he intended to do; but only on 
condition that the young man would renounce the Chris 
tian religion. The young man, who already held a 
situation at court, answered that he would not abjure 
his faith for the whole world. The king tried another 
method in order to seduce him: he sent to his mother 
four of his trusty servants, in the hope that she would, 
influence her son to yield to the wishes of his prince. 
This virtuous woman courageously declared that she 
could not in conscience lend herself to carry out such a 
design. The king became so enraged at this that all 
were expecting a terrible revenge. The mother and the 
son thereupon retired the following night to the oratory, 
which they had in their own house, in the expectation of 
death. But the king fearing that his violence might 
displease the emperor, who at that time (1604) was yet 
favorable to the Christians, restrained himself for the 
present. It is not known what subsequently became of 

It was about this time that the crown of martyrdom 
was obtained by one of the most distinguished person 
ages in Japan, named Melchior Bugendono, a lord of 
Miri, a place of considerable importance in the king 
dom of Aqui. He was a captain and a minister of very 
high merit in the service of King Amanguchi. He 
had openly professed the Christian religion for eigh 
teen years, when the king, notwithstanding the high 
esteem in which he held him, wished him to venerate 
the gods of the country. The brave man, in answer to 
such a request, said that he was ready to give his life 
for the king, but that he could not renounce his faith. 

338 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

The tyrant informed him that he would let him feel what 
it costs to despise his orders. Melchior well understood 
that he was threatened with death; but as he was de 
sirous of laying down his life, he contented himself with 
asking the king that, as the latter was bent upon destroy 
ing him, he might have him dragged through the streets 
of the city preceded by a herald who would proclaim in 
a loud voice that his crime was that he was a Christian. 
Had the tyrant only listened to what his anger dictated, 
he would have ordered him to be put to death on the 
spot; but being in doubt about the disposition of the 
emperor, he waited for a more favorable moment. Four 
years after, the occasion having presented itself, he sent 
a troop of a thousand soldiers with a bonze and an officer 
ordering Melchior to deliver up to them as hostages his 
son and his nephew. This was done in order to prevent 
any resistance to the execution of the sentence. The 
following day, August 16, 1605, two officers came and 
presented him with a warrant of his condemnation. 
Melchior read it without the least emotion; he contented 
himself with saying that the only crime for which he 
was made to die was that he was a Christian. He could 
not receive permission to be dragged through the streets 
as he had requested. The executioners told him that as 
he wished to die he might die like a man of honor by 
cutting open his abdomen, as is the custom in Japan; 
the good nobleman, however, replied that he wished to 
die not as a despairing Japanese, but as a Christian, re 
signed to God s holy will. He then knelt down in his 
room before the images of Jesus and Mary, and while he 
was recommending himself to God, he was beheaded. 
The news of what had taken place was carried at once 
to the tyrant, who not satisfied with the death of the 
father, ordered that his son, his nephews, as well as his 
wife, should also perish, and that their bodies should be 
burnt. He also had his son-in-law put to death, as he 

CHAP, iv.] Melchior Bugendono and others. 339 

was a Christian, and more than a hundred domestics of 
the family. The Bishop of Japan having collected in 
formation about their martyrdom, transmitted it to 

In connection with the death of this pious nobleman, 
we must mention that of a poor blind man, named 
Damian. He had been baptized in 1585; and as he was 
gifted with extraordinary talents, he went about explain 
ing and propagating the faith. A priest who was in 
structing the Christians at Amanguchi having been ex 
pelled, Damian took his place, and never ceased to 
preach and baptize in case of necessity. Informed of 
this conduct, the king sent to that place two commis 
sioners, before whom Damian presented himself as soon 
as they cited him to appear. They made him on behalf 
of the prince brilliant offers should he wish to give up 
the Christian religion, and threatened him with death 
should he refuse. Damian answered without hesitation: 
" You give me the choice between life and death: it is 
death which I choose, and I prefer it to all the goods 
that you promise me." He then began to demonstrate 
to them the truth of the Christian faith; but they took 
no heed of his discourse, and resolved to put him to 
death. Fearing, however, that there might be a tumult, 
they placed him upon a horse during the night and con 
ducted him to the place of execution. Having been in 
formed that he was condemned to death because he was 
a Christian, he joyfully dismounted and began to pray. 
Some moments afterwards, having thanked Jesus Christ 
for the grace of allowing him to die for his sake, he pre 
sented his head to the executioner. The latter, while 
holding the sabre already raised, told him that he could 
still save himself by denying his faith, but the martyr 
answered: "I wish to die a Christian; do your work." 
He was then beheaded, being at that time forty-five 
years old. 

340 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Then followed the martyrdom of a valiant nobleman 
named Leo Xiquigemon; he was from Jonai, a city of 
the kingdom of Saxuma, and thirty-five years old. 
Since his baptism he could speak of nothing else but of 
God, and when his friends urged him to take part in their 
diversions, he answered that present life being short he 
had no time to lose, in order to gain that life which has 
no end. The lord whose vassal he was, wishing to make 
him apostatize under the penalty of death, he protested 
that he was ready to die for his faith. It was in vain that 
his relatives and friends tried to shake his constancy; he 
always answered that he could not be unfaithful to God. 
Finally, the tyrant condemned him to be beheaded, and 
sent eight soldiers to execute him at his own house. 
Leo quietly received them and assured them that they 
need not fear any resistance on his part. He then 
dressed himself as for a grand feast, and took leave of 
his wife, who was still a pagan, saying to her : " If you 
love me, and if you desire to be with me after death, 
become a Christian, otherwise we shall be separated 
forever as far apart as heaven is from hell." He had 
two sons, one seventeen years old, who was still an 
idolater, the other only seven, who had been baptized 
three months before. He said to the first : "My son, if 
you love your father, follow his example, and you will 
come to join him at the place where he expects you." 
Then to the second he said : " Farewell, my dear child; 
learn of me to sacrifice your life rather than abandon 
your faith." After that he desired to be executed in the 
public square in order that every one might know that 
he died a Christian. Having laid aside his sword and 
dagger, he took in his hand a rosary and a crucifix, rec 
ommended himself to God, and gave a sign to the exe 
cutioner to discharge his duty. This generous Christian 
was then beheaded at Sirassa, September 17, 1608. 

] Joackiui Girozaiemo and others. 341 

CHAP. V.j 




IN the kingdom of Fingo, the persecution, after hav 
ing abated, took a fresh impulse. We have spoken of 
three charitable noblemen who were present at the 
death of Simon Taquenda. 1 Their names were Joachim 
Girozaiemon, Michael Faciemon, and John Tingoro, and 
they directed together a confraternity of mercy that did 
a great deal of good. Their zeal was the cause why they 
were thrown into a frightful prison, in which Joachim 
died a true martyr at the end of two years, a victim of 
his sufferings. His two companions bore up under this 
torture for four years, when the king ordered them as 
well as their children to be beheaded. 

This sentence having been made known to them, 
Michael asked the chief executioner to permit him to 
be crucified like Jesus Christ, and John begged to be 
cut to pieces. The officer assented, but he understood 
that this was to be done only after their death. While 
going to the place of execution with a rope around his 
neck, Michael walked rapidly, but John advanced slowly, 
exhausted as he was by a grave malady, and the rope 
by which he was bound being fastened so tightly that 
he could scarcely breathe. While they were on the way, 
the officers sent some soldiers to bring the children of 
the holy martyrs ; these were Thomas, the son of 
Michael, aged twelve, and Peter, the son of. John, who 
was only six years old. 

1 Page 332. 

342 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART u. 

Thomas, on hearing that his father was going to mar 
tyrdom, conceived so great a desire for death that he 
hastened to leave the city to join him; and while em 
bracing his father he said : " My father, see your son 
Thomas who is going to die with you for the faith. Far 
from fearing death, I desire it; we shall go to heaven 
together." Little Peter was expected; but as he de 
layed in coming, the officer wished to hasten the exe 
cution. Michael was the first that was beheaded. The 
executioner wished to take Thomas aside to spare him 
the horror of seeing the torture of his father; but the 
child cried out: "I wish to die near my father." He 
was then conducted near the bleeding body; there he 
offered his head with a countenance all radiant with joy, 
and invoking the names of Jesus and Mary, he received 
the death-blow. John was the third one that was be 

There still remained little Peter, as he was at the 
house of his uncle and had a longer journey to make. 
Some days before, while the conversation was about the 
sufferings of his father, he had said: " They will make 
me die with him, because I am a Christian, and I am so 
glad." When the officers called to take him away, he 
was asleep. They awoke him and told him that his 
father was waiting for him to die with him. The child 
immediately set out with his guards, the latter leading 
him by the hand, and he hastened as fast as he could. 
On seeing him, the spectators burst into tears. Arrived 
at the place of execution, he readily went on his knees, 
and seeing the executioner drawing his sword, extended 
his neck while clasping his hands in prayer This move 
ment deeply affected the executioner; he put back the 
sword into the scabbard, and withdrew, saying that he 
had not the heart to kill this innocent lamb. Two others 
sent to do the bloody deed shed tears and were unable 
to execute the order. At last there was no one found to 

CHAP, vi.i Caspar Nixiguenca and his family. 343 

immolate this tender victim but an unskilful slave, who, 
striking Peter at first on the shoulders, threw him on the 
ground. He returned twice to the charge without suc 
ceeding in cutting off the head, and he was obliged to 
saw it off with violence. Truly a barbarity at which a 
ferocious beast would have revolted ! 

Michael Faciemon, besides his son Thomas, had a 
daughter whom the Christians saved and conducted to 
Arima. Here a gentleman wished to unite her in mar 
riage to his son; and as it was represented that this 
young orphan was deprived of everything, and had no 
dowry, he answered: "It is enough that she is the 
daughter of a martyr." 





DURING this period three persons of rank were also 
put to death in the kingdom of Firando. A distinguished 
nobleman, named Caspar Nixiguenca, was living at Ta- 
manda, of which he was the ruler. He married his daugh 
ter, by the name of Mary, to the son of Condoquisan, 
the governor of the island. But the latter being an 
idolater felt reluctant to have in his house a daughter- 
in-law professing the Christian religion. He ceased not 
to make efforts to pervert her, until one day, no longer 
able to suffer his importunities, Mary left his house and 
went to the house of her father. The idolater, annoyed 
at her flight, wrote to her to return to his house under 
pain of being denounced to the king, who would not 

344 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

tolerate the Christian religion in his states. The pious 
young woman answered him that her religion forbade 
her to return, and that as she was a Christian, far from 
being afraid of death, she desired it. 

Condoquisan, to revenge himself, hastened to accuse 
Caspar to the king, who was a profligate pagan. Cas 
par was at once summoned by the bonzes, who were 
charged with proceeding against the Christian?. Scarcely 
had he reached the place when the soldiers threw them 
selves upon him to tie him, and when he asked them 
why they did so, the bonzes said to him: "You are a 
Christian, and it is for this reason that you are con 
demned to death." " If it is for this reason," rejoined 
the nobleman, " bind me as much as you please, and do 
not fear that 1 will offer resistance." 

On the following morning the governor came to visit 
him, exhorting him to deny the faith if he wished to 
save his life as well as the life of his wife and his sons, 
who had also been arrested. Caspar answered that he 
was ready to die for Jesus Christ, and that he asked for 
no other grace than that he might die on the cross. The 
governor replied that for this the consent of the prince 
was needed. Then he had him conducted to the place 
where he was to be beheaded, and wished as a mark of 
honor to execute him himself. 

On the same day the officers of justice proceeded to 
his house, where Ursula, his wife, and John, his son, were 
guarded. They wished to make them believe that they 
were going to lead them into exile with Caspar; but 
they were already aware of his martyrdom, and departed 
full of joy, not desiring anything so much as to die for 
the faith. The journey finished, a soldier suddenly drew 
his sabre and struck Ursula with it with great violence; 
but the weapon slipped and did not kill her. The saintly 
woman had thus time to fall on her knees. Invoking 
Jesus and Mary, she received the second blow which de- 

CHAP, vii.] Thomas Onda and others. 345 

prived her of life. John, who was in advance, turned 
back on hearing the noise; and seeing his mother die, 
he also knelt as she had done, and had his head also cut 

This triple martyrdom happened November 14, 1609; 
Caspar and Ursula were both fifty-four years old, and 
John was twenty-five. There was no sentence pro 
nounced against Mary, nor against the young wife of 
her brother. 






WE have to relate here the edifying death of the king 
of Arima, Protasius or John, 1 of whom we spoke in the 
beginning a death that was followed by a horrible 
persecution in the kingdom that was nearly Christian. 
The emperor had deposed and exiled him, in conse 
quence of an odious intrigue concocted against him by 
his own son, named Michael. In his exile King John 
led a very penitent life, to repair all the bad example 
that he had given, and he desired nothing so much as 
to expiate by his death his past iniquities. God soon 
brought about the accomplishment of his desires. 

Prince Michael, not content with having thus humbled 
his father, and with seating himself on his throne, wished 
also to deprive him of life. He had him accused to the 
emperor of several supposed crimes. The latter, taking 

1 Page 316. 

346 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

counsel only of the hatred that he bore him, condemned 
him without trial to be beheaded, and sent one hundred 
and fifty soldiers to carry out the sentence. It is the 
custom in Japan that when it is desired that a prince 
should die, the persons of his court defend him till death. 
But John begged his servants not to oppose his execu 
tion, and through affection for him they obeyed most 
reluctantly. Moreover, he made them swear not to open 
his body after death, as he foresaw they would do, 
according to another barbarous custom. He then wrote 
to his unnatural son a letter full of tenderness, and asked 
his pardon should he ever have offended him. He after 
wards had the Passion of Jesus Christ read to him, pray 
ing with tears that the many sins of his past life might 
be forgiven him. Having had a crucifix put before him, 
he went on his knees and calmly awaited the death-blow. 
The good Princess Justa, his wife, who was present, took 
the head of her husband between her hands and kissed 
it. Then she withdrew to her apartments, where she cut 
off her hair, indicating thereby that she renounced 
the world. 

The new king of Arima, the infamous parricide 
Michael, after having taken possession of all the goods 
of his father, declared war against the Christian religion. 
Following the advice of the bonzes, he published an 
edict obliging all his subjects to swear to him an oath of 
fidelity with the books of Cami and of Fotoqui on their 
heads, and declaring guilty of high treason all those who 
would refuse to do so. But the Christians, while protest 
ing their entire submission to the orders of the king, 
said boldly that they would never allow the imposition 
of that infamous book; and several of them went to ask 
for it, not to place it on their heads, but to trample on 
it. Informed of what had occurred, the tyrant con 
demned all of them to the torture. Listening, however, to 
better counsel, he was contented with the death of some 

CHAP, vii.j Thomas Onda and others. 347 

of them, and sent the rest into exile. Those who were 
condemned to death submitted joyfully to the penalty; 
but the exiles were in deep affliction because they had 
not enjoyed the same happiness. We shall relate a few 
beautiful examples furnished by this persecution. 

Michael had at his court a valiant captain, by the 
name of Thomas Onda. Not being able to suffer to see 
him a Christian, he ordered him to abjure his faith. 
Thomas answered that he could not betray the God to 
whose service he had devoted himself. Thereupon the 
tyrant ordered the governor of Arima to put to death 
him and his whole family. 

The friends of Thomas counselled him to fly during 
the night; but the servant of God answered that he 
would have come from the extremities of Japan for the 
purpose of dying for Jesus Christ. He passed the night 
in prayer. The following morning the governor had him 
called on a false pretext. Thomas, having a presenti 
ment that his end was approaching, embraced his mother 
and his three children; then he proceeded to the gov 
ernor, who wished him to dine with him. Before sitting 
down to table the governor had a sword brought in, and 
showing it to his guest, he said: " What do you think of 
it? Is it not a suitable instrument to cut off a man s 
head ?" Thomas took it, not doubting that it had been 
prepared for him, and then returned it, saying that it 
was an excellent sword. At this moment the governor 
plunged it into his body, and stretched him dead on the 

The same thing happened to Thomas s brother, whose 
name was Matthias. Having been summoned by the 
governor, he took leave of his family and prepared him 
self for death; and as soon as he entered the house of 
the governor, the latter dispatched him with his sword. 

Soldiers afterwards went to the dwelling of Thomas, 
where they found his mother, named Martha ; his wife. 

348 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Justa; and his three children two boys and one girl. 
Having entered, they announced to Martha that she 
should prepare herself to die, with her two grandchil 
dren. The venerable lady thanked God for the favor 
that he was granting her, to shed her blood for the faith. 
Her two grandsons, Justus and James, aged respectively 
eleven and nine, having been brought to her, she em 
braced them and said : "My dear children, your father 
and your uncle have died for Jesus Christ. I am also 
going to die, and you will come with me. Are you 
satisfied to join your father, who is awaiting you in 
heaven ?" The two boys answered that they wished 
this with all their heart ; all that they asked was when this 
would take place. "This very day," answered Martha ; 
"go, then, and bid farewell to your mother, and prepare 
yourselves for death." After having spoken these words 
she put on a white dress and made her grandchildren 
do the same. She then embraced Justa, her daughter- 
in-law, who was greatly afflicted at not being able to 
die with her children. She tried to console her by 
holding out to her the hope of also dying for the faith. 
At this moment there appeared before Justa her two 
sons dressed in white, who came to ask her for her bless 
ing. Farewell, my mother," said James to her; "my 
brother and I are going to die in order to be martyrs." 
Their Christian mother tenderly embraced them, and 
said, while shedding a torrent of tears, "Go, my dear 
sons, go and die for Jesus Christ ; when you are at the 
place of execution show yourselves Christians. Your 
father awaits you, and Jesus Christ calls you to his pal 
ace. Go and die generously for him who died for you. 
When you extend the neck to receive death, invoke with 
out ceasing Jesus and Mary. How unfortunate am I 
not to be able to die for you !" 

The soldiers made the grandmother with the two chil 
dren enter a litter. When the latter reached the place 

CHAP, vii.] Thomas Onda and others. 349 

where a crowd had gathered they dismounted, and 
looked about for him who was to put them to death. 
Having recognized him by the unsheathed sword, they 
knelt at his feet, with their hands joined, and while re 
peating the names of Jesus and Mary they fearlessly 
received the death-blow. Martha, who rejoiced at the 
firmness displayed hy her grandchildren, advanced 
modestly and put herself into an attitude of prayer. 
Finally she presented her head, which, being cut off at 
one blow, rebounded twice on the pavement. 

Let us return to King Michael, the parricide. King 
John, his father, had only him from his first marriage ; 
but his second wife, Queen Justa, had borne him four 
children, among whom were Princes Francis and Mat 
thew. These children had remained in the kingdom, 
while their mother, after the death of the king, her hus 
band, had been sent to Meaco. Prince Francis was 
only eight years old, and Prince Matthew was only six. 
In so tender an age, both knew how to show an inviola 
ble attachment to the faith. Princess Fima, the second 
wife, or rather the concubine of Michael, who had taken 
her by repudiating his lawful wife, seeing one day these 
two children, said to Francis : " Will you deny the God 
of the Christians ?" The young prince indignantly an 
swered : u No ; I will never deny him." She replied : 
"If you do not consent to do so, the emperor will put 
you to death/ "God grant it," replied the prince; "I 
do not fear it, and I even desire it." She then tried to 
pervert Matthew, the younger prince , but he was as im 
movable as his brother. This wicked woman, being sup 
ported by a perfidious counsellor, afterwards prevailed 
upon the king to cause the death of these two innocent 
youths, thus to secure for himself the possession of the 

They were at first kept in close confinement, and it 
was noised abroad that they were living with their 

350 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART 11. 

mother at Meaco, whither only the two young princesses, 
their sisters, had been sent. Thus imprisoned, our little 
martyrs, as if they had a presentiment that they were 
doomed to death, prepared thenfselves by exercises of con 
tinual piety, especially by prayer and fasting, just as well 
as persons who are of a mature age and who have consum 
mate virtue. During the night that was to be the last 
of their stay upon earth, as Francis was engaged till a 
very late hour, his servant reminded him that it was time 
to go to bed. " Ah !" cried out the youth, " I am think 
ing of the torments that Jesus Christ suffered for us, and 
that makes me weep. What goodness was that, to wish 
to die for us ! Poor idolaters, who know not this good 
Saviour !" Before retiring he recommended his soul to 
the Blessed Virgin, in case he was to die that very night. 
About midnight a soldier quietly entered the room, ap 
proached little Matthew, who was asleep, and plunged a 
dagger into his heart ; then he cut the throat of his 
brother Francis, and the servant found them in the morn 
ing, weltering in their blood. When their worthy 
mother, the exiled widow, was informed of this murder, 
as she had been for a long time united with God, she 
raised her eyes to heaven and thanked the Lord for hav 
ing called to himself these two tender lambs that she had 
brought into existence. 

Michael having been informed of this, resolved to ex 
tinguish entirely the Christian religion in Arima, no longer 
by putting his subjects to death, as this would have 
brought ruin to his states, but by employing the bonzes in 
perverting the faithful. For this purpose he had one of the 
most renowned of the bonzes to come to his court, but no 
Christian would visit him, with the exception of some 
who were forced to do so; and when they went they 
carried a rosary around the neck. The bonze preached, 
but no one would listen to him. The king seeing that 
no one took any notice of the bonze, had him come to 

CHAP, vii.] Thomas Onda and others. 351 

his palace, and ordered that every one should receive 
from his hands a kind of rosary by which the idolaters 
pretended to honor their god Amida. But all the Chris 
tians refused to take it; even the women refused, in spite 
of the orders of Princess Fima; and one of them, named 
Maxentia, took it and threw it into the face of the bonze. 
Then the princess ordered the women of her suite to 
take away from the Christians the rosary that they wore 
around the neck, and all resisted. She commanded a 
nobleman to take it away from them by force; but he 
declared that he could not do so, because such a thing 
was not proper for a nobleman and for a Christian. 
The king desired that at least his pages should receive 
the rosaries from the bonzes, but none of them would 

Later on, being instigated to a new persecution, he 
undertook to gain over eight noblemen of the highest 
rank by urging them to dissemble their religion, at least 
for a short time. Five of them consented, but the other 
three resisted with firmness, arid were condemned to be 
burnt alive with their wives and children. They were at 
once made prisoners and locked up in a house, where 
they found eight others, namely, Adrian Mondo and 
Jane, his wife, with their daughter Magdalen, aged 
twenty, who had made a vow of virginity, and their son 
James, aged eleven; Leo Luguiemon and Martha, his 
wife; Leo Caniemon and his son Paul, who was twenty- 
seven years old. 

The news of this having spread, about twenty thousand 
Christians assembled near the city, not in order to fight 
for the deliverance of the prisoners, but in order to die 
with them. Then four of the five noblemen who had 
apostatized came and threw themselves on their knees 
before this large crowd of the faithful, asking pardon for 
the scandal that they had given, and imploring the 
assistance of a priest to prepare them for death. After 

35 2 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

this they wrote to the king to be again united to those 
who had been condemned; but this favor was refused 
them. The tyrant, frightened on seeing so many Chris 
tians, who had come to be present at the execution, 
ordered the prisoners to be put to death secretly in the 
house in which they were guarded; but having received 
from the faithful the assurance that they only desired to 
be present at the death of their brethren, so as to pro 
vide them with a suitable funeral, he decided that 
there should be raised in the middle of a plain a 
wooden cabin, to be filled with straw and other com 
bustible materials, to serve as a funeral-pile for the con 

On October 7, 1613, the moment of departure having 
arrived, they embraced one another, and after having 
fallen on their knees to thank God for having made them 
worthy of dying for the love of him, they set out for the 
place of execution. The Christians having reassembled 
for the purpose of accompanying them, were ranged by 
the officials of the Confraternity, one half of them before, 
the other half behind the martyrs. They walked six 
abreast, singing the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. Those 
of the city of Arima held each a lighted candle, and wore 
upon the head a garland, as a sign of triumph ; the rest 
carried each a rosary. 

During the procession little James, hearing some one 
calling him martyr, answered with great modesty : " Wait 
a little ; you are too fast ; I indeed see the crown, but I 
am not yet in possession of it." As the distance to 
be traversed was great, several Christians offered to 
carry him on their shoulders ; but he refused, saying : 
"We are imitating our Captain who ascended Calvary 
on foot carrying a heavy cross, which I have not to carry. 
Now we must labor ; eternity will give us a long rest." 
When he perceived the place where all were to be burnt, 
he said to those present who were shedding tears : 

CHAP, vii.] Thomas Onda and others. 353 

"Why do you weep? Do you not envy my happiness ? 
Walk merrily, as you see me doing." 

Having at last arrived at the place where they were to 
finish their sacrifice, our courageous martyrs hastened to 
kiss the stakes to which they were about to be tied. One 
of them, Leo Caniemon, having been put in a more 
elevated position, cried out with a loud voice : " We see 
the fire that is to consume us; but we see it without 
fear, well knowing that our souls will thence pass to 
eternal happiness. My brethren, the Christian religion 
is the only one in which we can be saved. Persevere in 
the faith ; let not our torments frighten you ; the suffer 
ings are light and short; but the reward is great and is 
eternal. Be you the witnesses that we die for the faith in 
Jesus Christ." 

As soon as they had been bound to the stakes, the 
head of the Confraternities displayed a banner on which 
was represented our Lord bound to the pillar, and said : 
" My brethren, see your Saviour, for the love of whom 
you are going to die. From the heights of the heavens 
he holds your crowns ready ; courageously die for him 
who died for you." The funeral pile was then set on 
fire, and all the Christians fell at once upon their knees, 
praying to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin to assist the 
sufferers. The whole plain resounded with their lamen 
tations ; one cried out: " Jesus, Mary !" another: "My 
God, mercy !" The martyrs did not cease silently to 
recommend themselves to God. The fire having con 
sumed the cords that tied little James, he suddenly 
rushed through the flames and cinders into the arms of 
his mother, who said to him : " My son, look up to 
heaven and invoke Jesus and Mary." The innocent boy 
after having three times repeated the names of Jesus and 
Mary, fell dead at the feet of his mother, and she in her 
turn fell dead over him. Young Magdalen, the sister of 
James, still remained. Already burnt in every part of 

354 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

her body, she bent over, and seizing some burning cinders 
she placed them upon her head as if she wished to make 
of them a crown for herself. A little while after she 
gently sank down and gave up her soul to God. Oh, 
what a beautiful triumph of the faith did the Church see 
on that day ! 

When all the martyrs had breathed their last, the 
Christians passed over the palisade, gathered up the 
relics, and buried them in the church at Nangasaki. 
The Bishop of Japan after due investigation had a public 
act drawn up in reference to this event. 

Towards the end of the following year, 1614, King 
Michael, seeing that he had not gained the favor of the 
emperor as he had wished, imagined that he would gain 
it by means of a new persecution. To this end he decreed 
that all the Christians who were drawing from him 
revenues or pensions should lose them unless they 
abandoned their religion. After the publication of this 
edict fifty of the most distinguished families of the king 
dom had the courage to renounce their entire fortune. 
Besides, on hearing of this the young persons who were 
members of the congregation of St. Joseph, who were 
all under fifteen years of age, took among themselves 
the following oath : " Even though we should be burnt 
alive, we shall never give up the faith." And as for the 
unfortunate Michael, who had redoubled the persecu 
tion, hoping that the emperor would give him a more 
extensive kingdom, received from him, after having 
published the barbarous edict, the peremptory order to 
leave Arima and to retire to the wretched kingdom of 
Fiunga. This was, indeed, a just chastisement of his 
perversity, that made him prefer the favor of the emperor 
to the grace of God. 

CHAP, vin j Firmness of the Christians of Meaco. 355 




TILL the year 1614 there had been only local persecu 
tions ; but at this time the tempest extended through 
the whole of Japan and enveloped all the Christians. 
The Emperor Daifusama wished at first to expel all the 
missionaries and demolish all the churches. He then 
ordered that all the names of all the Christians should 
be taken down in order that they might be subjected to 
capital punishment if they did not deny their faith. 
When the list of the Christians of Meaco was presented 
to him, he became greatly enraged against the governor 
for having permitted them to multiply to such an extent. 
He then entrusted the task of exterminating the faithful 
to one of his most redoubtable generals. 

This general proceeded to Meaco with the choicest 
troops, and there published that all Christians that 
would not apostatize from the faith should be tied to 
stakes and be burnt alive. On the following day it was 
remarked that the greatest part of the Christians had 
placed stakes before their doors in order to give notice 
that they were ready to submit to be burnt rather than 
renounce their faith. Among them there was a poor 
man who sold his garment, as well as a poor woman who 
sold her waistband, in order to purchase a stake. In 
the face of such disposition the tyrant contrived other 
expedients : he had all those stakes burnt in the public 
square, and gave orders to his agents to do all in their 
power to induce the Christians whose names were 

356 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

inscribed on the list to give their consent to have them 
erased. Some yielded to the seduction ; others having 
had their names erased against their will kept silence ; 
but there was a great number who everywhere published 
that their names had been effaced without their consent. 
One of the streets of the city was inhabited only by 
Christians ; there, women were seized, tied tightly in 
sacks as far as the neck, and thus left night and day 
exposed to the severity of the winter. There were 
several children who desired to be treated in the same 
manner. Women consecrated to God were in derision 
led about in their sacks through the streets of the city ; 
then they were set free to make believe that they had 
abjured their faith. They did not, however, cease to 
cry out that they were Christians. The tyrant after 
wards went to Ozaca, where he exercised the same 
cruelties ; but the faithful showed no less constancy. 
Such was also the courage of the faithful of Sacaia, who 
were subjected to the like treatment. 




TAIDONO, King of Aqui and of Bungo, heretofore favor 
able to the Christians, wished to conform to the imperial 
edict. He gave orders to four of his officers that they 
should also submit to it, but they answered him to his 
face that they were Christians, and that rather than 
abandon their faith, they were ready to lose all their 

CHAP, ix.i Benedict, a Converted Bonze. 357 

property, and even life itself. A young page said to the 
king with the same boldness : " Sire, I am disposed to 
obey you in all things ; but if you command anything 
that is forbidden by the true God, here is my head, 
I give it up to you." While speaking thus, he uncovered 
his neck and presented it. Every one trembled, fearing 
that the enraged prince would himself cut off his head ; 
but he restrained himself. 

The city of Bungo offered in this persecution many 
beautiful examples of heroism. A converted bonze 
named Benedict was arrested there, with his whole 
family and other Christians. After they had been 
stripped of their garments, they were ignominiously 
dragged the distance of a league to an enclosed place. 
Here they were bound fast in sacks, and thrown upon one 
another. Benedict, who was lying below all of them, 
fainted away. The guards then carried him to a neigh 
boring house, where he was importuned to abandon his 
faith. But as nothing could shake his constancy, he 
was put back into the sack and thrown under the others 
as before. When he was at the point of death they took 
him again into the house, where he died while pronounc 
ing the names of Jesus and Mary. The companions of 
his sufferings were banished. 

Having through others solicited in vain a Christian 
nobleman to obey the orders of the emperor, the king 
resolved to visit him in person, hoping to conquer him 
by this extraordinary condescension. The nobleman, 
hearing that the king was on the road to meet him, 
went on towards him and said to him : " Prince, I am 
extremely obliged to you for the honor you have deigned 
to confer upon me by visiting me in person ; but if all 
this is for the purpose of making me change my religion, 
I declare that I wish to die a Christian. If that is a crime 
you may at once cut off my head." Having said this, he 
fell on his knees, uncovered his shoulders, and awaited the 

358 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

blow, At that moment his son, who was nine years old, 
ran up to him, and also knelt by his side. Then came 
his wife and his mother, who did the same in order 
that all might die together. This spectacle greatly 
moved the king and he withdrew ; but sometime after 
wards, for fear of the emperor, he sent this entire noble 
family into exile. 

Another distinguished nobleman, by the name of 
Titus, had to undergo a severer trial. The king used 
every kind of solicitation to persuade him to deny his 
faith ; and as he courageously resisted, he was ordered 
to send, on his return home, his younger son, a boy nine 
years of age. Titus felt this order most difficult to exe 
cute, as he feared that his son would lose either his life 
or his faith ; but forced to obey, he embraced the child, 
exhorted him to remain firm, and sent him to the palace. 
Two days afterwards the prince sent word to the father 
that he had put his son to death because he had refused 
to abjure his religion, and he should now send his 
daughter, who was fourteen years old. This was a 
second cruel blow aimed at the heart of both father and 
mother ; but they had to be resigned to it. Some time 
having elapsed, Titus received the news that his daugh 
ter was also dead, and also the order to send his eldest 
son, aged sixteen. The good father was heart 
broken by this last blow, which was more painful than 
the rest; he called his son, and said to him : "My dear 
child, your young brother and sister have died for Jesus 
Christ; they are now in heaven calling for you ; go, 
show that you are a true Christian, and prepare a place 
for your mother and for me, for we shall not delay to 
follow you." The young man fell on his knees, asked 
his father s blessing, and set out courageously for the 
palace. These saintly parents felt keenly the loss of 
their children ; but they were consoled in thinking that 
these were crowned in heaven, and that they were thus 

CHAP. ix. i Benedict, a Converted Bonze. 359 

disposing themselves to join them there. In fact the 
king soon informed Titus that he should send his wife. 
This last separation was cruel, yet it was unavoidable. 
Finally, he was informed that his children and his wife 
being dead, he was in his turn to be beheaded if he did 
not obey. Titus answered that it was the most agree 
able news that he could receive ; he joyfully set out for 
the palace, and asked the prince for the same favor 
that had been granted to his family. Here the scene was 
all at once changed: the king in the presence of Titus 
opened a door, and out came his wife and his children 
alive. He then told them to go home and to practise 
the Christian religion, to which they were so much 

Those who were exercising authority under King 
Taidono did not use the same moderation. We have 
read above about the heroic death of the converted 
bonze Benedict : we shall also cite the glorious example 
of three other martyrs of the kingdom of Bungo. A 
gentleman of rank, named Clement, had two sons, 
Michael and Lin ; Michael, being married to a fervent 
Christian, whose name was Maxentia, was the father of 
several children. Clement showed great firmness at the 
beginning of the persecution ; but after the publica 
tion of the imperial edict, although his two sons had 
protested that they would never abandon their faith, he 
cowardly signed a declaration stating that he and his 
family renounced the Christian religion. Michael and 
Lin, learning what their father had done, hastened to 
publish that they had not subscribed this act ; and 
Clement himself, moved by the just reproaches of his 
children, retracted what he had signed. The governor 
then had the father and the two sons arrested, as also 
Maxentia, the wife of Michael, with his two young 
children. Three of them were seized, namely, Lin, 
Maxentia, and Peter, aged fourteen, the eldest son of 

360 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Michael. They were stripped and securely tied in sacks; 
the others were reserved to a more cruel torment, which 
was to see those surfer whom they loved. Young Peter, 
enclosed in his sack, encouraged his mother to suffer 
with patience ; and, addressing the idolaters present, he 
said to them : "Beware of putting my name on the list 
of those who have denied the faith; if you dare to do 
so, I will myself go and accuse you of forgery." Lin 
and Maxentia prayed continually. They passed three 
days in this state without being able to turn either to 
one side or the other. After this long torture they were 
remanded to prison ; and seven days later, July 13, 1614, 
Michael and Lin were condemned to be burnt alive. 
On leaving the prison Michael said to his brother : " See, 
now, in preference to our parents we have received the 
happiness of dying for Jesus Christ ! " While going to 
the place of execution they saw that Maxentia was also 
conducted thither, and they found there three stakes. 
Michael and Lin immediately ran to embrace theirs. 
While the latter were being tied to them, Maxentia also 
asked to be tied ; but she was refused in order that she 
might endure the pain of seeing her husband die. When 
the funeral pile had been set on fire, she wished to leap 
into the flames; but she was prevented. After she had 
witnessed this sorrowful holocaust, the executioners 
tried to frighten her by putting the sword to her neck, 
but she cried out: " This is not the way to frighten Chris 
tians : if you wish to frighten me you must threaten to 
spare my life." Then she knelt down and presented 
her neck to the executioner, telling him to do his duty. 
She was then beheaded. 

CHAP, x.i JoacJiim and Thomas of Facata. 361 




THE church of Facata was enjoying peace under a 
good king ; but after the edict of the emperor a day 
was fixed on which all the Christians of a quarter of the 
city were to present themselves to have their names en 
rolled among those who had denied the faith. As the 
inhabitants of this city were the richest in Japan, for 
fear of losing their property they all made but a feeble 
resistance, with the exception of two faithful Christians, 
named Joachim and Thomas. Joachim, who was a phy 
sician, was so charitable as to treat gratuitously all the 
sick, and he exercised this charity principally among the 
poor. As the urgent solicitations of his friends could 
not shake his resolution, he was finally condemned to be 
hanged from a tree head downwards. Thomas was con 
demned to the same punishment, and he was tied to the 
same tree below Joachim. They remained in this state 
for three days, and there was none who dared to give 
them anything to eat or to drink ; they, however, con 
soled themselves by thinking of the Cross of Jesus 
Christ. After this torture they were beheaded. A 
bonze was so struck by their constancy that he 
did not hesitate to say publicly : "Who could doubt the 
salvation of these two Christians who have given their 
blood in defence of their law ? " 

In the island of Xiqui, when the edict of the emperor 
was published, the priests who governed this church 
being obliged to depart, they left the care of it to an 

362 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

old man named Adam Aracava. As this good man ful 
filled worthily the duties of his office, he was arrested 
and brought before the governor, who did all in his 
power to win him over. Adam, however, replied : " When 
I compare the death with which men threaten me with 
the eternal life that God promises me, I look upon as 
good all the evil that can be done to me. The prince 
unjustly persecutes the Christians to preserve his crown ; 
and I should not fear what is just in order to acquire 
an immortal crown, and to please God, who is the sove 
reign Master of all kings." The governor becoming 
greatly incensed at such language, ordered that the 
saintly old man should be stripped and conducted 
through the city, preceded by a public crier, who was to 
say in a loud voice : " Here is the man who has rebelled 
against the emperor !" He was then kept suspended by 
the arms and feet from two posts from morning until 
night, for nine days. Finally he was condemned to be 
beheaded, and the execution took place during the night, 
on a mountain. Several witnesses have testified that 
his head while falling pronounced twice in a strong 
voice these sacred names : " Jesus, Mary !" 

After this glorious death, a Christian who had 
through fear denied his faith felt so lively a remorse 
that he presented himself to the judges and declared to 
them, in the presence of several witnesses, that he had 
yielded to violence when he abjured his religion, but 
that now he wished to live and die a Christian. The 
judges derided him and drove him away. He then 
entered a neighboring house and impressed upon his 
forehead with a red-hot iron the sign of the cross. 
Returning to the judges he said to them : " Now you 
cannot doubt that I am a Christian. The God who has 
given me the strength to suffer this burning will also 
grant me the same to endure all the torments that you 
will inflict upon me." The governor intended at first to 

CHAP, xi.] Leonard Guinmra and Others. 365 

put him to death; but reflecting that thereby the number 
of martyrs would only be increased, he left him in peace. 
In 1616 occurred the martyrdom of Paul Tarosuque, 
who was of the kingdom of Jamaxiro. After the publi 
cation of the last edicts he was strongly urged to aban 
don his faith. As he refused to do so, his friends drew 
up a formula of abjuration, and holding his hand, made 
him sign it in spite of himself. This was the cause of the 
greatest affliction to him. But while he was in search 
of the means to repair this involuntary evil, an officer 
came to tell him that the governor was not satisfied with 
the act that he had signed, because he had omitted to 
indicate the sect which he had embraced. Paul, full of 
joy, seized at once the writing and tore it up. He de 
clared that he was a Christian, and that he desired to 
seal his profession of faith with his blood. Then fore 
seeing that his death was near, he wrote to five of his 
friends, asking them to recommend him to God, and to 
obtain for him the grace of dying for the faith. Some 
time afterwards he was informed that he should prepare 
himself for death. This news completed his happiness; 
he asked the officer to allow him to die on the cross; 
but the latter answered that he could not change the 
sentence which condemned him to have his head cut off; 
and this sentence was carried out. 




IN 1618, at Nangasaki, which was the last refuge of 
the Christians, an officer of justice entered the house of 

364 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

one of the principal inhabitants of the city and asked for 
a pen in order to register the names of all the Christians 
living there. A little girl eight years old gave him a 
pen, saying: "Take this, and put my name down so that 
I may be the first to die for Jesus Christ." Then came 
the mother, who also gave her name; and as the officer 
was going away she ran after him, holding in her arms 
her youngest child, and said: " Put also on your list, I 
beg you, the name of this child, who was sleeping when 
you came, and whom I had forgotten." 

Among the many faithful Christians who were cast 
into prison in that year was Brother Leonard Guimura, 
a Japanese, of the Society of Jesus. This fervent Chris 
tian baptized in the prison eighty-six idolaters who had 
been locked up with him. The holy life led by these 
prisoners was most remarkable; for every day they made 
a two hours meditation, and spent one hour in vocal 
prayer; they fasted Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 
and on each Friday they prayed for five hours in honor 
of the Passion of Jesus Christ. 

The governor knowing that Brother Leonard had 
changed his prison into a house of prayer, and that he 
had converted the idolatrous prisoners, condemned him 
to death with four of his companions. When they were 
interrogated the judge asked Leonard why he had re 
mained in Japan. The Brother answered, saying: "I 
remained in order that I might preach the law of Jesus 
Christ." " For that," rejoined the judge, "you shall be 
burned alive." "Then," exclaimed Leonard, "let the 
world know that I am condemned to death by fire, and 
that I have preached the law of Jesus Christ." The 
judge addressing another of the faithful, named Dominic 
George, a Portuguese, 1 arrested for having given shelter 
to a missionary priest, he said that he also would be 
burnt for what he had done. Dominic replied: " I pre- 
1 As for his wife and child, see note in chap. xvii. 

CHAP, xi.] Leonard Guimura and Others. 365 

fer this sentence to the possession of the whole Japanese 
Empire." The five who had been condemned were then 
led to execution. The streets were crowded with people, 
the sea covered with boats filled with spectators who had 
assembled to witness the death of the holy confessors. 
Each one inclined respectfully to the stake to which he 
was then bound. The fire having been kindled, Leonard 
was after a short time seen to place reverentially the 
cinders upon his head while he sang the psalm Laudate 
Dominum omnes gentes. This spectacle so filled the faith 
ful with the desire of martyrdom that many of them 
approached the fire in order to be thrown into it; there 
were even two among them who asked their neighbors 
whether it were not permitted to cast themselves into 
it. Several pagans were converted when they saw the 
joy exhibited by the martyrs in the midst of the flames. 
Their sacrifice was consummated November 28, 1619. 

One is moved with compassion while reading about 
the sufferings of the confessors of the faith endured in 
the prison of Omura, a city situated about six leagues 
from Nangasaki. These holy prisoners were exposed to 
the inclemency of the weather in a place closed on the one 
side by a wall, on the other by a row of hedges, with 
guards who were keeping watch inside. They suffered 
from hunger so much so that they frequently fainted. 
The guards, moved with pity, allowed the Christians to 
assist them by secretly furnishing them with food. The 
magistrates, however, wished to oblige the guards to 
swear by the gods of Japan that they would not permit 
any more assistance to be given to the prisoners, but a 
noble captain, a Christian, named Lin Toiemon, refused 
to take the oath, saying that he could swear only in the 
name of the true God. He well knew that such a re 
fusal would cost him his life. After having recom 
mended himself to the prayers of the prisoners, he re 
tired to his own house and took leave of his friends. 

366 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

The soldiers did not delay to make an attack upon him, 
and one of them struck him in the neck with the sword. 
Lin fell immediately on his knees and offered his head* 
which was at once cut off. His wife, seeing him dead, 
ran after the executioners, crying out that she also was 
a Christian; but they refused to listen to her, saying that 
they had not received any orders concerning her. The 
death of Lin made those enter into themselves who had 
taken the sacrilegious oath; for three among them, 
moved by repentance for their fault, tore up publicly the 
paper on which this oath was written. A young noble 
man was a martyr of his charity: he was killed with blows 
of the sword, because he had sent by one of his servants 
some refreshments to the prisoners. The servant was 
beheaded; his name was Thomas, and his master s name 
was Peter. 




AT this period two men of distinction also suffered 
martyrdom in the kingdom of Bungo. 

The name of the first was James Faito. He had dur 
ing the preceding year been expelled from his house, 
stripped of all his property, and reduced so much that 
he lived with his family in a poor cabin; finally, he was 
condemned to death for not having wished to deny his 
faith. The news of this sentence having reached him at 
his dwelling, he passed at once to a neighboring apart 
ment, where he found his wife with one of his daughters, 
and said to them: "I have come to bid vou farewell, 

CHAP, xii.] James Faito> Balthasar and his Son. 367 

but on condition that you do not begin to weep." After 
having recommended himself to Jesus Christ and to the 
Blessed Virgin, he put on his finest clothes and entered 
a boat which was to transport him to the place of execu 
tion. Having landed he wished to take off his shoes in 
order to go barefooted as far as the hill designated; 
there he fell upon his knees, presented his head to the 
executioner, and while invoking the names of Jesus and 
Mary, received the death-blow, October 15, 1619, at the 
age of fifty-four. 

On the same day his cousin, by the name of Balthasar, 
superintendent of the royal treasury, obtained the same 
crown. He had also been despoiled of his property and 
exiled from the kingdom on account of his faith, and it 
was also in the place of exile where it was announced to 
him that he had been condemned to death because he 
was a Christian. He rejoiced greatly, and thanked the 
governor for having delivered him thereby from the 
miseries of this life. He subsequently visited his mother, 
Lucy his wife, and his daughter Thecla, and communi 
cated to them the good news that he had received. The 
officers of justice came to ask him in which place he 
wished to die. "Wherever you please," he answered. 
Thecla then said: "My father, it is not necessary for you 
to leave the house; it would be for us a consolation to 
be present at your death." Balthasar rejoined: "My 
daughter, the Son of God wished to die outside of Jeru 
salem, in a public place; we should imitate his example 
by dying in the same place in which malefactors die." 
Before departing he prayed before the image of our 
Lord. His wife and his daughter wished to have the 
consolation of washing his feet; thereupon he set out 
and joined the executioners. 

Balthasar had a son four years old, named James, who, 
seeing his father going to his death, threw himself at 
his feet and cried out that he wished to die with him. 

368 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

The father persuaded him to remain with his mother; 
but the boy did not wish to leave him; finally, to rid 
himself of further trouble, he allowed him to follow him. 

When all had arrived at the place of execution, the 
servant of God, seeing those present moved with com 
passion, spoke to them: "You would have reason to 
pity me if I died in punishment of a crime; but since I 
die for my religion, you should envy my happiness; for I 
only quit the earth in order to reign eternally in heaven." 
Having said this, he embraced his son, fell on his knees, 
made to God an offering of his life, and presented his 
neck to the executioner who beheaded him. The mar 
tyr was in his forty-eighth year. 

Little James, without being frightened by the death 
of his father, knelt as he had done, kissed the collar of 
his garment, and received also the death-blow, while he 
was saying, "Jesus, Mary!" It was indeed wonderful to 
see so young a child die with such intrepidity; but it 
was still more wonderful that there could be found an 
executioner capable of immolating this little innocent. 



IN the same year of 1619 thirty-six Christians of every 
age and of both sexes were arrested at Meaco; and as 
the prisons were already filled, they were kept in the 
open air. 

There was among them a good old man by the name 
of James, a physician and a fervent Christian. The 
superintendent, who highly esteemed him, had his bands 

CHAP, xiii.] Fifty-two Martyrs burnt at Meaco. 369 

taken off and had him placed elsewhere, giving him to 
understand that he might set himself free; but James 
declared that being a Christian he wished to die with 
the rest. A soldier then seized him by the arm and said 
to him angrily: " Go away from here, unfortunate man; 
go and take a good place in prison, where we shall soon 
meet you." His intention was that the physician should 
return home; but James, obeying the command literally, 
went to the prison, happy at being able to rejoin his 

The emperor having come to Meaco, many other Chris 
tians were seized and incarcerated. The prisons of Japan, 
and above all those of Meaco, were so small and infectious 
that one could hardly breathe in them. Eight Christians 
died of sickness, hunger, and misery. It having been re 
ported to the emperor that many Christians were in 
prison on account of their faith, he ordered that all of 
them should be burnt alive. 

On the day of this barbarous execution, October 7, 
1619, all the victims, to the number of fifty-two, were 
tied together and transported on nine carts to the place 
of execution. The men were placed in front, the young 
persons behind; in the middle were placed the women 
with their children. A public crier preceded them, pub 
lishing the sentence of death in these words: "The em 
peror wishes that these who are condemned shall be 
burnt alive, because they are Christians." And each 
time this announcement was made the holy confessors 
cried out: " Yes, we die for Jesus Christ; live Jesus !" 
All those who saw them were unable to restrain their 
tears, especially when they noticed so many women and 
innocent children who were doomed to die. 

On the funeral pile had been erected crosses to serve 
as stakes; this surprised and consoled our generous mar 
tyrs. While leaving the carts each one asked for his 
cross in ordqr to embrace it; but it was found necessary 

370 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

to tie two men or two women to each cross. Among the 
men was a lord belonging to the court, named John 
Tafioie, to whom great promises were offered, but the 
hero remained unshaken. Among the number of women 
was found Thecla, the wife of Tafioie; she died in the 
fire with five of her children, three of whom expired in 
her arms. When the flames burst fortli from the funeral 
pile, the executioners began to howl, and those who were 
spectators shed tears and uttered cries, while the mar 
tyrs sang and invoked the holy name of Jesus. At first 
the smoke was so dense that no one could see them; but 
after a short time these holy martyrs were seen dying 
with their eyes raised to heaven. What was more re 
markable was, that of so many persons who could have 
escaped, not one attempted to do so, and that even the 
children remained steadfastly in the fire till death. It is 
related that over this place a brilliant star was afterwards 
seen by pagans as well as by Christians. 

There was among these martyrs a young person by 
the name of Martha, whom the officers at first drew aside 
so that she might escape; but she wept so bitterly that, 
to please her, they had to lock her up in prison with the 
others. She was threatened with the most horrible tor 
ments; most seductive offers were made to her; but she 
never ceased to answer that she wished to die for the 
faith. The dampness of the prison made her blind; and 
in this sad state all that she feared was that she might 
not die with the others. When the prisoners set out for 
the place of execution, Martha clung so closely to her 
mother, who was of the number. of the condemned, that 
she could not be torn from her arms, and had to be de 
livered with her to the flames. 

There was also among them another heroine named 
Monica; she was from the kingdom of Mino. She 
ardently desired martyrdom, and exercised herself be 
forehand in the endurance of all the torments that the 

CHAP, xiv] Ignatitis Xiquiemon and Others. 371 

idolaters could inflict upon her. One day she went so 
far as to pick up a red-hot iron. On seeing this her sister 
cried out: "Ah! Monica, what are you doing?" "lam 
preparing myself for martyrdom," she answered. " I have 
already struggled against hunger, and I have overcome 
it; now I am handling fire in order to conquer it when I 
shall be obliged to endure it. Whoever does not make 
a trial of himself in this way should flee from danger," 
This courageous woman having reached the funeral pile, 
before descending from the cart, said in a loud voice: 
" Listen to me, ye who are present: I declare to you that 
I am a Christian, and that I die a Christian." She then 
died a glorious death. 




THE great holocaust, of which we have just spoken, 
was followed by a victory that was gained, nearly in the 
same place, by a Christian hero, Ignatius Xiquiemon. 
Being at that time at Meaco, he was invited to a great 
ball which was given in honor of the Fotoqui; but he 
refused to take part in it, and ridiculed this vain super 
stition. As he was immediately pursued as a Christian, 
he withdrew to Fucimo, where he was arrested. The 
judges having asked whether he knew other wicked men 
professing the same religion that he professed, Ignatius, 
quite inflamed with zeal, replied that it was wrong for 
them to treat as wicked those men who were thinking 

37 2 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

only of their salvation. He was put into prison, and at 
first treated with kindness because of his gentle manners 
that gained all hearts. But the news having spread that 
fifty-two Christians had been immolated at Meaco, he 
was at once brought to trial and condemned to death by 
fire. The haste with which he was conducted to the 
place of execution gave his executioners no time to pre 
pare the stake and to gather the necessary wood. While 
they were arranging the funeral pile, Ignatius waited 
with so great tranquillity that the pagans themselves 
were filled with admiration. When he had been tied to 
the stake and the funeral pile had been kindled, he re 
cited in a loud voice the Pater noster; but he could not 
finish it, as the smoke and the flames prevented him 
from speaking. An idolater seeing him half burnt ap 
proached and said to him: "Courage, brother; recom 
mend yourself to the Fotoqui; there is yet time." Igna 
tius turned away his head while continuing his prayer, 
and gently gave up his soul to God. The Christians 
took his body and buried it with honors. 

About the same time there occurred a wonderful con 
version and the holy death of a bonze who had led a 
wicked life. He was so wicked, that while giving lodg 
ings to travellers, he did so, not to give them hospitality, 
but to rob and to kill them. His crimes having come to 
the knowledge of the authorities, he was condemned to 
be buried in the ground up to his neck, and it was for 
bidden to give him any other thing than two or three 
mouthfuls of rice every evening, in order to prolong his 
torture. The unfortunate man passed several days in 
this state; but when already the worms were beginning 
to devour his entrails, God permitted that there should 
shine forth in him the wonderful effects of his mercy. 
Some Christian soldiers, touched with compassion, ex 
horted him, since he was about to die, to save his soul 
and to receive baptism, without which he could not 

CHAP, xiv.] Ignatius Xiquiemon and others. 373 

be saved. As this bonze belonged to the number of 
those who did not believe in a future life, he ridiculed 
their exhortations. The soldiers, however, insisted, in 
speaking to him especially of the worm of conscience 
that would gnaw his heart eternally in hell, and would 
do so in a manner more horrible than the material worms 
that were actually gnawing his entrails. This great 
sinner becoming then enlightened with the grace of God. 
asked for baptism, and received it with great sorrow for 
his past life. He thenceforward accepted his punish 
ment in a spirit of penance, and died in a holy manner^ 
never ceasing to repeat the names of Jesus and Mary. 

We have here another example of firmness given, in 
1620, by a Christian of the kingdom of Arima. His 
name was Matthias, and he was devoting himself to the 
service of the Father Provincial of the Jesuits. One 
night as he was carrying a cassock to Nangasaki, he was 
arrested by the soldiers and taken before the governor. 
The latter asked him to whom belonged the garment 
that he was carrying. Matthias, in order not to expose 
himself to the danger of telling a lie, and at the same 
time in order not to betray the religious, kept silence. 
The soldiers heaped upon him every kind of bad treatment 
to oblige him to speak; but he courageously persisted 
in giving no answer. Then he was extended on two 
pieces of wood, and made to swallow so great a quantity 
of water that he was on the point of expiring. Matthias 
suffered all without saying anything and without utter 
ing the least complaint. His invincible constancy being 
thus apparent, he was sent to the governor of Arima, 
who although he saw him in a half-dead condition, had 
him tormented still more cruelly by forcing him to swallow 
water and to vomit it violently. The patient asked for 
a moment s repose, which was granted in the hope that 
he was at last going to reveal all; but no precise answer 
was given. They threatened him with yet more cruel 

374 Tli c Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

torments, when he fell down in a swoon, and as his 
tongue hung out of his mouth, a soldier struck him on 
the head with so powerful a blow of his fist that his teeth 
bit off his tongue. He remained in this state during the 
whole night; and on the following morning he gave up 
his beautiful soul to God, in the forty-ninth year of his 





IN the kingdom of Bungo a nobleman named Simon 
Bocusai, who had distinguished himself in the army by 
his bravery, consecrated himself later on to the service 
of God and to the salvation of souls. He opened a 
school in which he taught the doctrines and the maxims 
of the Christian religion. The king ordered him. to 
close his school; but as Simon did not obey, he con 
demned him to die on the cross, with Magdalen, his 
wife, and the members of the Christian family that were 
living in his house, namely, Thomas Guengoro, Mary, 
his wife, and James, their child. Simon, informed of his 
approaching end, wrote to a religious as follows: " The 
prince has pronounced against me the sentence of death; 
I must therefore die soon. I have often asked this grace 
of God; I hope that, if my sins offer no obstacle, I may 
go in a few hours to enjoy eternal happiness. I entreat 
you to obtain for me perseverance." The virtuous wife 
of Simon and their guests received with the same joy 
the news of their condemnation. On the following day, 

CHAP, xv,] Simon Bocusai and others. 375 

being informed that they would have to proceed to the 
place of execution, they knelt down before a crucifix, 
and having reached their destination, each one pros 
trated himself at the foot of his cross. Simon asked the 
officer of justice to thank the prince on his part for the 
favor that he had conferred in causing him to die for 
Jesus Christ. The five martyrs were then crucified, Sep 
tember 14, 1620. Simon was then sixty years old; he 
died on the following day; so also did Magdalen; the 
others expired somewhat later. 

In 1621, two noblemen of Nangasaki, John Ciu and 
John Ito, were decapitated for having given hospitality 
to two missionary Fathers. As they were persons of dis 
tinguished merit, the governor did all he could to save 
them; they, on the contrary, far from defending them 
selves, maintained that death was their due. Their wives 
put the greatest obstacle in their way, for they asserted 
that during the absence of their husbands they had had 
their names inscribed on the list of Christians, and that 
thus on themselves should the death penalty be inflicted^ 
and not on their husbands; but the latter became so im 
portunate by their arguments and entreaties that they 
gained the victory. 

The same year, a nobleman of the kingdom of Fingo, 
by the name of Leo Nonda, after having received bap 
tism at Nangasaki, retired to Isafai, his native city, and 
there lived a life of piety, applying himself above all to 
fortify the Christians who were wavering in their faith. 
He made many efforts to bring back to a virtuous life, 
among others, a young man who had gone astray; but 
seeing that he was only losing time, he abandoned him. 
This wretched man afterwards went through spite to 
accuse Leo of being a Christian. Whereupon the gov 
ernor deputed three officers to visit Leo and to prevail 
upon him to deny his faith. They made use of every arti 
fice to persuade him; but finding that he was unshaken 

3?6 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

in the resolution of remaining faithful, they chained him, 
drove his wife and children from the house, and placed 
guards over it. Afterwards the governor sent some one 
to tell him, as if on behalf of his wife, that he should 
consent to dissemble his faith, at least with the mouth, 
and he should not by his obstinacy cause his own ruin 
and that of his family. Leo replied that the evils of the 
present life being transitory, he preferred them to the 
evils of the next life that are eternal, and that if he were 
forced to abandon his family it would not be abandoned 
by God. This stratagem having failed, the governor 
also employed several other persons of great authority 
to gain him over; but Leo informed him that in recog 
nition of the goodness that he (the governor) showed in 
his regard, he would warn him that if he did not cease 
to adore the Camis and the Fotoqui, he would surely be 
condemned forever to hell. Thereupon the governor 
became greatly enraged, and pronounced against him the 
sentence of death. When Leo was informed of this, he 
rendered thanks to the Lord, and gave a beautiful ex 
hortation to the idolaters present to induce them to fol 
low Jesus Christ. During the following night he was 
secretly conveyed to a vessel that carried him to a neigh 
boring island, where he was beheaded, July 25, 1621, in 
his forty-second year. 





A GOVERNOR of the kingdom of Oxu had published an 
edict declaring that all the Christians must abandon 

CHAP, xvi.] Joachim and Ann of Mizusama. 377 

their religion under penalty of losing their lives, and he 
thereby forced one of his near relatives to deny the faith. 
The latter had a son, aged twelve years, who was also a 
Christian; he went to declare to the judges that he and 
his son had abandoned the faith. The son, however, as 
soon as he heard of this shameful proceeding, went to 
the judges and protested against the declaration of his 
father, saying that he was a Christian, and that he wished 
to die a Christian. The father on hearing of this, con 
ducted him again to the judges, who told him that if he 
wished to remain a Christian, he would have to renounce 
the inheritance bequeathed to him by his father. " I re 
nounce," said the boy with magnanimity, " not only the 
inheritance of my father, but all the grandeurs of this 
world, in order to gain eternal life." On hearing these 
words the father seized his dagger and rushed upon him 
to kill him. The boy seeing him come, instead of run 
ning away fell on his knees and presented his breast; 
but those who were present prevented him from com 
mitting the crime. A few days afterwards, the father, in 
admiration of the fidelity of his son, entered into him 
self, acknowledged his fault, asked pardon of God, and 
declared in presence of the judges that he was a Chris 
tian, and that he willingly accepted death to wipe out 
with his blood the injury that he had done to God 
Moreover, finding himself one day in an assembly of the 
faithful, he mutilated his flesh with a discipline, crying 
out with tears in his eyes: "My brethren, lam unworthy 
of the name of Christian; I have sullied my soul with a 
great crime, and with black ingratitude towards my 
Creator and my Redeemer!" Thus was the constancy 
of the son the salvation of the father. 

The same governor charged a commissioner to search 
for and exterminate all the Christians of his province. 
There lived in the town of Mizusama a holy man, named 
Joachim, with Ann, his wife, as virtuous as himself, 

378 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Both were advanced in years, one being sixty-six, the 
other sixty, and they had been baptized only two years 
before. The commissioner not having succeeded in 
making Joachim renounce his faith, he ordered him to 
be put in prison, where he was to be left to die of hunger. 
At the end of twenty-three days, as he was still living, 
thanks to the aid that had been given him by some of 
the faithful, the tyrant ordered that he together with his 
wife should be decapitated. The news of this having 
spread, the Christians went in crowds to visit Joachim 
in prison, where he exhorted all to meditate without 
ceasing on the Passion of Jesus Christ, saying that the 
remembrance of this mystery would suffice to make them 
support courageously all that they would have to suffer 
in trying to save their souls. While he was thus speak 
ing, the executioners entered and displayed in his pres 
ence the iron collars and handcuffs. He then bowed 
his head and gave thanks to God for having judged him 
worthy to carry these irons, more precious in his eyes 
than the sceptres and crowns of princes. The two saintly 
martyrs walked to the place of execution, their arms and 
neck laden with chains; Ann was accompanied by two 
women, and Joachim by a large number of Christians 
who had clothed themselves in silk in order to honor 
their martyrdom. Finally, at the place of execution 
when the executioner raised his arm to cut off the head 
of the martyr, the Christians uttered so loud a cry that 
the frightened man cutoff only one half of the neck; but 
he was at once replaced by another, who finished the 
work. This head, only the half of which was cut off, 
pronounced the names of Jesus and Mary. Ann was 
executed immediately after while repeating the same 
sacred names. This event occurred in 1621. 

CHAP, xvn.] Great Execution at Nangasaki. 379 




IN 1622, September 2 or 10, there was at Nangasaki a 
great execution of Christians, which was called the Great 
Martyrdom, because twenty-one religious and thirty-one 
seculars were put to death, some of them being decapitated 
and the rest burnt alive. What was above all to be ad 
mired was the constancy of those who perished in the fire; 
for they had been but loosely tied to their stakes, so that 
overcome by their sufferings they could easily get loose, 
take flight, and declare themselves apostates; but the 
holy confessors steadfastly remained in the midst of the 
flames till death. 1 One of the condemned, who was not 

1 As these illustrious conquerors will probably not fail, as we have 
been assured, to receive the honors of triumph in the Church, as we have 
seen in the case of those mentioned, Chapter II., page 326, we deem it 
useful to give a list of their names. 

There were eight Dominicans; namely, the Franciscan Fathers Mo- 
ralez, Alphonse de Mena, Ange Ferrier, Joseph and Hyacinthe Orfanel- 
li; the brothers Alexis and Thomas; John, of the Third Order. The 
first six were burnt. 

Four Franciscans: Fathers Peter d Avila and Richard of St. Anne; 
Brothers Leo and Vincent. All four perished by fire. Father Richard 
is he of whom St. Alphonsus relates the example in the Glories of 
Mary, P. I. ch. viii. I (Vol. VII. p. 233). 

Nine Jesuits: Fathers Charles Spinola, who was very celebrated, 
being regarded as the chief of this glorious phalanx, and Sebastian 
Quimura; the novices whose vows were received by Father Spinola be 
fore the execution, Peter Sampo, Gonzalve Fusai, Thomas Acafoxi, 
Michael Xumpo, Anthony Kiuni, Louis Cavara, and John Ciungocu. 

380 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

counted among the fifty-two martyrs, came forth from 
the fire; but seeing the courage with which his wife suf 
fered death, he again threw himself into the flames and 
returned to his stake. There were two others, who were 
still young, who fled and presented themselves to the 
judge, invoking Xaca and Amida. But oh, astonishing 
thing, that proves how much the wicked themselves 
abhor inconstancy in doing good ! the idolaters felt such 
contempt for these two apostates that they seized them 
and threw them back into the fire. Thus did these un 
fortunate men pass from the temporal to the eternal fire. 
These victims were followed by many others immo 
lated chiefly at Nangasaki and at Omura. In this latter 
city three women distinguished themselves above all by 
their admirable firmness. A magistrate having gone to 
visit one of them named Justa, whose son had been de 
spoiled of all his property and deprived even of life on 
account of his faith, declared to her that he would aid 
her to recover all the possessions of her son if she would 

All were condemned to the fire; but the last one was beheaded, for 
want of a stake to which to tie him. 

The four seculars delivered up to the flames were: Anthony of 

Corea, Paul , Anthony Sanga, and Lucius Fraitez. 

Twenty-seven seculars beheaded: Isabella Fernandez, widow of 
Dominic George, (Chap. XI. page 364), and his son Ignatius, aged four 
years; Mary, widow of Andrew Tocuan, a martyr; Apollina, a widow; 
Agnes, widow of Come, a martyr; Marina, a widow; Mary, wife of 
Anthony of Corea, condemned to the fire; his son, John aged twelve; 
and his brother Peter, aged three; Mary, widow of John Xun, a mar 
tyr; Dominica, a widow; Magdalen, wife of Anthony Sanga, con 
demned to the fire; Mary, wife of Paul , also condemned to the 

fire; Catharine ; Thecla, wife of Paul Nangaxi, the one who, hav 
ing come forth from the fire, re-entered it voluntarily, and his son 
Peter, aged seven; Dominic Nacavo, son of Matthias, a martyr; Peter 
Motoiurna, aged five, son of John, a martyr; Bartholomew Cavano; 

Dominic Yamarida; Damian , and his son Michael, aged five; 

Thomas ; Clement and his son Anthony, aged three; Rufus ; 

Clare, wife of a martyr. ED. 

CHAP, xvii.j Great Execution at Nangasaki. 381 

only cease to be a Christian. Justa also had a daugh 
ter called Mary, aged fourteen years. The judge having 
perceived her, said to her that he would adopt her as his 
daughter if she would adore the gods. "Adore the 
gods!" cried out the young Christian: " I adore only one 
God, the Creator of heaven and earth: it was for Him 
that my brother died, and it is for Him that I also wish 
to die." The judge then proceeded to the widow of the 
martyr, a young woman of eighteen, named Agatha, who 
was near her confinement; he falsely stated that Justa, 
her mother-in-law, had denied her faith, and that she 
should imitate her, and in doing so she would be taking 
care of her child. Agatha replied that she would prefer 
to see this child perish in her womb, rather than intrust 
it to the care of an idolater, the murderer of its father. 
She added that she desired death, hoping soon to rejoin 
her husband in heaven. The judge having reported all 
this to the governor, the latter condemned the three 
women to die the following night. When they heard 
of this sentence they fell on their knees to thank Jesus 
Christ for the grace that he had conferred on them. At 
the appointed hour, they joyfully set out for the place 
of execution, accompanied by more than three hundred 
Christians. When they arrived there, Agatha prostrated 
herself, having Justa on her right, and Mary, her daugh 
ter-in-law, on her left. After praying for some time, all 
three presented their necks and were beheaded, October 
9, 1622. 

At another place, a generous martyr named Paul 
Gazaiemon obtained the crown in his old age, and ob 
tained it by a new kind of suffering. He was eighty years 
of age, and had employed the greatest part of his life in 
works of charity towards his neighbor, applying him 
self specially to assist the faithful who were sick or per 
secuted. Summoned one day to appear before the 
judges, he hastened to present himself, being happy to 

382 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

give to God a life of which a natural death would soon 
deprive him. The governor seeing his constancy in the 
faith, conducted him to a convent of bonzes, who ex 
hausted all their knowledge to make him prevaricate ; 
but he clearly demonstrated to them the falsity of their 
religion and the truth of ours. The governor then en 
deavored to conquer him by torments. He was led to the 
sea-shore, and was threatened with death by drowning if 
he did not renounce his faith. He was then put into 
a boat, his feet were enveloped in a bag, and his head in 
another ; but Paul tranquilly said to the soldiers that 
at his age he had nothing more to hope nor to fear on 
earth, and that his greatest regret was not to have loved 
God more during life after having received so many 
graces. These barbarians, irritated by such language, 
stretched the good old man at his full length, and jump 
ing upon his abdomen, trampled it with their feet ; 
after this they tied his hands and feet, fastened a large 
stone to his neck, and threw him into the sea. To their 
great surprise, however, he floated upon the water for 
nearly an hour, and did not expire until he had peace 
fully finished his prayer. 

On October 2d of the same year nine Christians were 
martyred at Nangasaki. Among them was a boy, who 
was tortured during the space of eight days, to make 
him discover the place where the religious were hidden ; 
but he did nothing else but repeat the names of Jesus 
and Mary. The executioners, transported with rage, tore 
open his back between the shoulders and poured into it 
melted lead a cruelty that the heroic boy suffered while 
constantly saying, " Jesus and Mary ! I desire to go to 
heaven and see my God." The judges finally despaired 
of conquering him, and had him with his whole family 
burnt alive. 

CHAP, xviii.] Many Victims at Jedo. 38, 





DURING the month of September of the year 1623 
many of the faithful were immolated at Jedo. On the 
4th of the same month fifty of them perished by fire. 
On the 29th there were twenty-four who were burnt, 
decapitated, or crucified. Among them was a woman 
named Mary Jagera, who had given shelter to a religious 
missionary. The governor having tried in vain all that 
he could to pervert her, ended by condemning her to 
the stake with four other women of high rank. On the 
day of the execution Mary was tied to a horse in order 
to be carried to the place of torture; she proceeded 
thither with a smiling countenance, accompanied by 
those who were to die with her. But what drew tears 
from the eyes of all was the spectacle of eighteen little 
children who were led to execution at the same time. 
They were so innocent that they indulged in play the 
whole length of the journey. One cannot read without 
horror the cruelties that were inflicted on these tender 
lambs. Some of them had their heads cut off, others 
had their bodies cut open as far as the throat; there 
were some who were divided in two; several were taken 
by the feet and cut in pieces. During this frightful 
butchery the five women continued in prayer, then the 
funeral pile was lit, and the saintly heroines were con 
sumed by a slow fire. 

384 Tke Martyrs of Japan. IPART n. 




THE princes who were the least hostile to the Chris 
tians, to please the emperor did not cease to go in search of 
them and to persecute them. At Firoxima, a young lord 
called Francis Sintaro having learned that during his ab 
sence the guardian of his house had declared to the officers 
of justice that it harbored no Christian, hastened to write 
to the governor that the guardian had imposed on them, 
because he was a Christian and was resolved to remain 
such till death. This letter gave great pain to the gover 
nor, who very much regretted having to lose so distin 
guished an officer. He therefore engaged all the relatives 
and friends of Sintaro to unite their efforts in inducing 
him to deny the faith. They did all that they could for 
this purpose, but they gained nothing. The principal 
personages of the court wrote to him to make him on be 
half of the emperor the most brilliant offers; but when 
he perceived what they were aiming at, he threw their 
letters into the fire. The courier having remarked to 
him that those lords would feel themselves insulted if 
they heard what he had done, he said: "My friend, you 
are a courier, and not a counsellor ; your duty is to 
bring the letters, not to give advice. You have done your 
duty: all you have now to do is to depart." 

A short time after there presented themselves four 
officers, who had been sent by the governor to ask whe 
ther he was willing to embrace the religion of the prince. 
He answered that he desired to follow till death the 
religion of Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth. 

CHAP xix.] Francis Sintaro and others. 385 

After this declaration the governor ordered three other 
officers to put him to death if he persisted in his resolu 
tion, and would not yield. The latter having arrived 
at his house communicated to him the grief that the 
governor felt at seeing himself obliged to treat him 
rigorously according to the law, and represented to him 
the ruin of his whole family which his obstinacy would 
cause. Francis, full of intrepidity, answered: "The 
governor may order what he pleases: I am ready to obey 
him in all that is not contrary to the law of God; but it 
is unreasonable for him to demand of me that I should 
disobey the Sovereign of kings, who forbids me to adore 
any other god except Him." The officers replied : " If you 
refuse to do what you are asked, you must make up your 
mind to die." "I am resolved to die," he replied; "and 
I assure you that you could not have brought me 
more welcome news." They then said to him: "Since 
you are tired of living, die at least like a man of honor. 
Slit open your body, as people of your rank are accus 
tomed to do." To this the Christian nobleman re 
joined: " I would do so if the law of God permitted me, 
but it forbids me to take away my life. You have the 
sword in your hands: you may kill me, if you wish. I 
shall look upon him as my father who inflicts death up 
on me, because he will furnish me with a better life than 
that which he takes from me." 

Having said this, he asked their permission to go to 
bid farewell to his mother; and on reaching her apart 
ments he spoke thus to her: "My mother, the hour for 
which I have so much longed, and which I have asked 
of God to grant me, has at last come; I am going to 
die. Forgive me all the displeasure that I have caused 
you, and give me your blessing." Then he knelt down 
to receive this last favor. His mother tenderly em 
braced him, and said : " My dear son, may the Lord 
bless you, and give you the strength to die a holy death. 

386 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

It greatly afflicts me to lose you; but I console myself 
in thinking that you are dying for Jesus Christ. May he 
be always praised for the grace that he is granting you !" 
He also took leave of his young wife, and returned to 
the place where he was to be executed. Whilst entering 
he saluted the officers, prostrated himself, and, after 
having prayed, he presented his head, which one of the 
officers cut off immediately. Francis Sintaro died in 
this manner, February 16, 1624, in the flower of his age, 
being only twenty-four years old. 

While he was yet free, and many were urging him to 
give up his faith, having learned that a man of his ac 
quaintance, by the name of Matthias Squiraiemon, had 
just been imprisoned for being a Christian, he cried out: 
" Happy Mathias, how I envy your situation !" and having 
taken up a pen he wrote him a letter of congratulation, 
But he obtained the palm of martyrdom before Matthias; 
the latter followed him a short time after. 

Matthias was in the service of an idolatrous master of 
the city of Firoxima. The latter did all he could to 
seduce him; not having succeeded, he had him tied to a 
stake by his hands, arms, and neck. This was a fright 
ful torture that used to be inflicted in Japan; for the 
cords are drawn so tightly that they penetrate the flesh, 
and sometimes as far as the bone. Matthias passed a 
day and a night in this state; and the tyrant, far from 
being moved, became more and more incensed. He 
ordered that upon his neck should be placed a large 
piece of wood,, which the martyr carried for four days. 
During this interval many persons were sent to persuade 
him to yield; but as he was steadfast, his master ended 
by denouncing him to the governor, who condemned him 
to die on the cross. 

Matthias received this news with expressions of the 
liveliest joy, happy to think that he was going to die like 
his Saviour. When he saw the cross he prostrated him- 

CHAP, xx.] Isabella, Mother of D ami an. 387 

self, and cried out, in imitation of the apostle St. Andrew: 
"O cross sanctified by the death of my Lord Jesus 
Christ ! I venerate thee from the bottom of my heart." 
He then recited the Confiteor, and after a short prayer, 
raising his eyes to heaven, he said: "Praised forever be 
Jesus Christ, who deigns to call to himself by the way of 
the cross a sinner such as I am." He .pronounced these 
words with so much serenity, that the idolaters while 
listening said to one another: " Who will be saved if 
these people are not?" When he had been raised on the 
cross he was pierced with lances, and gave up his soul 
into the hands of his Creator, February 17, 1624, at the 
age of thirty-seven years. 

On the i4th of the same month, another noble and 
fervent Christian, named John Cufroi, after being eigh 
teen months in prison, was condemned to death in the 
kingdom of Zio. Esteeming himself happy to die for the 
faith, he begged the one who had come to notify him of 
his condemnation to thank the governor on his behalf. 
Arrived at the place of his sacrifice, he publicly declared 
that the only crime for which he died was because he 
was a Christian. He was subjected to a barbarous tor 
ture. After he had been stripped of his garments, he 
was stretched on the ground and cut in two. 




A GENEROUS servant of God, named Damian, had 
sacrificed his life for the faith in 1622. All his property 

388 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

having been confiscated, the house where his mother 
Isabella, his wife Beatrice, and his children dwelt was 
assigned to them as their prison. Guards were constantly 
watching over them, and did not cease to importune 
them to leave the Christian religion; they, however, 
always answered that they desired to die for Jesus Christ. 
Finally, after two years of captivity, the governor con 
demned all of them to be put to death, with the excep 
tion of Isabella; yet this venerable woman, aged seventy- 
four, having bitterly complained that she could not share 
the fate of her family, to satisfy her he ordered that she 
also should be executed. The grandmother, the mother, 
and the four children were then led from the house to 
the place of execution. A pagan wished to save the 
eldest of the two sons, named Paul, aged twelve years, 
and he kept him secreted; but the boy managed things 
so well that he was able to escape and follow the others. 
They were placed in a vessel, to be transported to the 
is-land of Nancaia, the place of execution. While on 
their journey they were joined by Mary, widow of Suca- 
mota, who had been martyred with Damian; she was 
also led to death with her four sons. The two families 
embraced each other in a most cordial- manner, and be 
gan to chant together the praises of God. 

Beatrice was the first that was immolated. Paul fol 
lowed her; he was already on his knees awaiting the 
fatal blow, when the executioner, seeing on his neck a 
kind of collar that was the ornament worn by the chil 
dren of rank in Japan, ordered him to take it off. The 
boy arose at once and removed it; he then knelt down 
again, bent his neck while pronouncing the names of 
Jesus and Mary. John, his brother, nine years of age, 
seeing him stretched dead at his side, courageously fell 
on his knees, and was at once decapitated. There still 
remained two girls Magdalen, aged thirteen, and Isabella, 
who was seven. The executioners seized little Isabella, 

CHAP, xxi.] Michael Ficmon and his Family. 389 

and having thrown her on the body of her mother, killed 
her witli three blows of the sabre. Magdalen afterwards 
perished in the same way. Finally, Isabella, who had 
obtained permission to die last, in order, she said, to 
have the consolation to see her whole family pass happily 
from the earth to heaven, after she had contemplated, 
not without the greatest grief, the massacre of all those 
who were dear to her, was also beheaded, March 5, 1624. 
We may here see how far the noble Christian soul can 

Mary and her children, who had been treated in the 
same manner, were also put to death in this place. The 
mother was the first that was beheaded, together with 
the youngest of her sons, aged ten years. The other 
three remained on> board of the vessel. Andrew was 
twenty-five years of age, Mance twenty-three, and John 
twenty-one. The executioners thrust each one into a 
sack as far as the neck, and covered the head with 
another sack. The three brothers asked to be fastened 
together in order that they might be united in death as 
they had been in life. Their request was granted; they 
were tied together, with large stones attached, and thus 
thrown into the sea. 





IN a harbor of Firando there lived an excellent Chris 
tian by the name of Michael Fiemon, whose religious 
zeal was known by every one. This was the reason why 
he was soon condemned to death with his whole family. 

390 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

He had brought up his children so well that the idolaters 
tormented in vain for two days one of them named John, 
aged thirteen, trying to pervert him. He always said as 
his only answer: " I wish to die a Christian." Ursula, the 
wife of Michael, had a little daughter as wise as she was 
pretty; some pagans begged the mother to intrust her to 
them, promising that they would take care of her. Ursula 
declared that for all the gold in the world she would 
never permit any one of her children to pass into the 
hands of idolaters. 

The day of their martyrdom having arrived, Michael 
took by the hand his eldest daughter Clara, aged seven, 
whilst in the other hand he carried a lighted candle, the 
symbol of faith; Ursula took care of Magdalen, the 
youngest, and also carried a lighted candle. On arriving 
at the place of execution Ursula asked the executioners 
to execute her last: " I wish," she said, "before dying to 
see all my family in safety." This was done. 

Michael, in his thirty-seventh year, was the first that 
was decapitated; the executioner took off his head with 
one blow, which was also to take off at the same time the 
head of little Clara, whom her father held in his arms; 
but this was only accomplished after several other blows. 
Then John arose and asked his mother to arrange his 
hair, which was too long, so as to offer the executioner no 
obstacle. The good mother embraced him, and raising 
his hair fastened it upon his head. The boy then ap 
proached the executioner, and noticing that the latter 
was yet very young, he thus addressed him: "It seems 
to me that you are afraid, and that you have never yet 
cut off a head; take care, and do your duty." Having 
said this he fell on his knees, joined his hands, and while 
invoking Jesus and Mary he courageously received the 
death-blow. Finally, Ursula, after having seen her hus 
band and her two children die, cried out with tears in her 
eyes: " Be Thou praised, O my God ! for having rendered 

CHAP, xxii.] Five Religious Burnt, and others. 391 

me worthy to be present at this sacrifice; now grant me 
the grace to have a share in their crown. I have no one 
else left but this child. O my God ! I offer it to Thee 
with me; accept this last sacrifice." After having re 
cited this prayer she pressed the little Magdalen to her 
bosom; and the same blow caused the head of the mother 
and that of the daughter to fall. 





ON August 25, 1624, there were taken from the prisons 
of Omura, to be delivered up to the flames, five religious; 
namely, a Dominican, Father Peter Vasquez; three 
Franciscans, Fathers Louis Sotelo and Louis Sassandra, 
and Brother Louis, a Japanese received into the Third 
Order; a Jesuit, Father Michael Carvailho. They were 
but lightly fastened to the stakes, so that when finding 
themselves unbound they could easily escape and declare 
themselves apostates, or they might at least serve to 
amuse the people by remaining voluntarily in the fire. 
The first one burnt was Brother Louis, who seeing him 
self loosened from his cords, passed through the flames, 
cast himself at the feet of the priests, to kiss their hands, 
and then returned to his stake, where he expired a few 
moments afterwards. Father Carvailho was the second 
to die. The third was Father Sassandra, a Japanese, 
who, seeing his cords burnt, wished to join his com 
panions; but not being able to walk, because his feet 
had been already half consumed, he contented himself 

39 2 The Martyrs of ^fapan. [PART n. 

with saluting them from a distance, and died imme 
diately after. As for the other two, there being but a 
slow fire, they remained in this torment for the space of 
three hours, at the end of which they expired. 

On May 8 of the same year occurred in the kingdom 
of Bungo the courageous death of LeoMisaqui. During 
the first persecution he had wavered in his faith, or at 
least he had given cause of suspicion; he having entered 
into himself, he called his oldest son, and declared to him 
that in order to expiate his fault lie had taken the reso 
lution to die for Jesus Christ. The young man, feeling 
himself too weak to imitate him, retired to another coun 
try. Leo afterwards called his three other sons, An 
drew, Thomas, and John, and asked them what was their 
intention. They all three answered that they were 
ready to die with him for the faith. The officers of the 
governor being somewhat afraid of Leo, arrested John, 
the youngest of his sons. Leo at once presented himself 
before the judge, declaring to him that if in the past he 
had dissembled his religion, he now had made up his 
mind to expiate his infidelity, even at the expense of his 
life. The judge then summoned Thomas and Andrew. 
The latter \vas at first irresolute; but soon finding out 
the mistake that he had made, he had himself bound as 
a prisoner with his father and his two brothers. Then 
all that could be possibly clone was tried to shake the 
fidelity of the three young servants of God; yet they re 
sisted with firmness, and were finally condemned to die 
with their father. On reaching the place of execution 
Leo addressed a few words to his children to encourage 
them. While he was yet speaking, the son of the gov 
ernor arrived, and said that he wished to try the temper 
of his arms upon the bodies of the martyrs. This was 
the reason why they were executed in so unusual a manner. 
Their heads were not merely cut off, but each by a blow 
of the sabre had his head taken off together with the left 

CHAP. xxin. } Caius and James Coici, Burnt. 393 

shoulder. Leo was in his sixty-first year, Andrew was 
twenty-five, Thomas twenty-three, and John twenty. 



I REFRAIN from speaking of those martyrs whose com 
bats resemble one another too much, so that the narrative 
may not become irksome to the reader. I cannot, how 
ever, pass over in silence those whose history contains 
certain particular circumstances. Such is the martyrdom 
of James Coici and of Cains, both having been burnt for 
the faith at Omura in 1625. 

James was arrested for having lodged a missionary. 
Caius, on learning that James, his friend, was in prison, 
went thither to speak to him; and as the guards opposed 
his entrance, he opened a passage for himself by main 
force. In punishment for this insolence he was held a 
prisoner, and the lieutenant of the governor had him 
punished so severely that his face was black and blue. 
The lieutenant then told him that he could not save him 
from the chastisement that he merited unless he would 
promise to teach no more the Christian doctrine, as he 
had been in the habit of doing. Caius pleaded in ex 
cuse that he had consecrated his life to the instruction 
of his neighbor. The lieutenant nevertheless, as he took 
a liking to him, wished to set him at liberty; but Caius 
said to him while leaving the prison: " Do not think that 
I shall stop coming here; I will come to serve the prison 
ers, cost what it may." At these words the lieutenant 
changed his mind, and ordered him to be put in irons. 

394 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

The governor having arrived at Omura from Nanga- 
saki, ordered Caius to be brought before him; he prom 
ised that the past would be forgotten if he would bind 
himself no more to instruct the Christians. Caius again 
protested that it was a work of charity, which he could 
not give up. Thereupon the governor remanded him to 
prison, threatening that he would have him burnt alive. 
In fact, a short time afterwards he, with his friend James, 
was condemned to death by fire. They gayly walked to 
the place of execution, singing the litany of the saints. 
When they arrived, Caius broke away from the hands of 
his guards, and ran to embrace the stake that was des 
tined for him; James in his turn did the same. They 
were then tied, and fire was set to the funeral pile, 
Caius knelt down in the middle of the flames, and while 
thanking God in a loud voice for having found him 
worthy to die as he had desired, he expired. James was 
also kneeling in the middle of the fire; when his cords 
had been consumed he arose as if he wished to speak to 
those present, but as his strength failed him he again 
knelt down, and died while invoking Jesus and Mary. 

I must relate here the conversion of Caius. He was a 
native of Corea. Although brought up in paganism, he 
conceived so ardent a desire for the salvation of his soul 
that he retired into the woods so as better to think of 
the means to attain it. Corea having fallen into the 
hands of the Japanese, our young solitary was made a 
slave and transported to Japan, where he began to exam 
ine what sect of bonzes he should embrace in order to 
secure his salvation. In the mean time he retired to 
their principal house at Meaco, but he could not find 
there the peace that he was searching for. One day dur 
ing sleep it seemed to him that the house was on fire: a 
little while afterwards a young child of ravishing beauty 
appeared to him, and announced to him that he would 
soon meet what he desired; at the same time he felt 

CHAP, xxiv.] Organtin Tanxit and his Wife. 395 

himself quite well, though he had been sick. Despairing 
of seeing among the bonzes the light for which he was 
longing, he resolved to leave them. Scarcely had he 
left the house when he met a Christian, to whom he 
made known his mental troubles. The Christian having 
explained to him some truths of our faith, he was filled 
with admiration, and went to the house of the mission 
aries to become more thoroughly instructed . After re 
ceiving baptism Caius consecrated himself unreservedly 
to the service of God and to the instruction of the idola 
ters, and martyrdom put him in possession of the sover 
eign happiness which he was seeking. 




THE governor of Funai, the capital of the kingdom of 
Bungo, having by an edict called upon all the Christians 
to abjure their religion, Organtin Tanxu, a personage of 
considerable distinction in the country, refused to obey. 
He had a noble wife named Lucy, who was also a fer 
vent Christian, and both were of an advanced age. The 
governor, after vain efforts to make them change their 
resolution, ended by condemning them to be burnt alive. 

On the day of their martyrdom, September i, 1624 or 
1625, they were conducted to the sea-shore, the place 
where they were to be executed. Organtin on seeing 
his stake alighted from his horse and prostrated himself 
to salute it; Lucy followed his example. One of the of 
ficers then said to Organtin: " Now, old man, how are 
you pleased with the banquet that is prepared for you ? 

396 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n, 

What, say you in regard to the stake at which you are to 
be burnt?" The martyr, kissing the stake, replied: 
"This is the ladder which is to conduct me to heaven; I 
will never leave it, no matter how terrible my sufferings 
may be." Both bade farewell to those of their friends 
who were present; after which the executioners tied them 
to their stakes, and set the wood on fire. The wind 
blew the flames towards Lucy, who almost immediately 
gave up her soul to God, in her seventy-seventh year. 
Organtin did not cease to hold himself erect in the mid 
dle of the flames, without exhibiting the least pain, till 
he expired, leaving the executioners wrapt in admiration 
at his firmness and patience. 




A YOUNG woman, twenty- seven years old, by the name 
of Monica Oiva, who had been repudiated by her husband 
on account of her faith, went to Cubota to her relatives; 
but there she found a brother more cruel than her hus 
band. In order to pervert her, this unworthy brother 
wished to force her to unite herself in marriage to an 
other pagan; she excused herself, saying that she had 
made a vow of chastity, and consequently could not 
marry again. Incensed by her opposition, he made her 
serve in the kitchen for a whole year like a slave. The 
wife of the governor, informed of what was going on, 
sent for her, and strove by all means in her power to 
make her alter her resolution; but she labored in vain. 

CHAP, xxv.] Monica Oiva and others. 397 

To remove all hope in this respect Monica cut off her 
hair; this in Japan was a sign of the absolute renuncia 
tion of marriage. Her relatives seeing this gave infor 
mation of it to the governor, who permitted them to 
treat her as they pleased. Then these barbarians ex 
tended before her some matting to receive her blood, 
and declared to her that she must change her religion 
or die. She knelt down and presented her head, which 
was immediately cut off by one of her relatives. 

About the same time, in the year 1625, the governor 
of Cubota condemned to the fire thirty-two Christian 
nobles, of whom nine were women; for them this was a 
great subject of rejoicing. In consideration of their 
rank, it was the intention to lead them to execution 
without tying them; but in order to bear greater re 
semblance to their divine Master, they entreated the ex 
ecutioners so earnestly, that the latter consented to tie 
them all, except the women and a boy thirteen years old, 
named Thomas. The martyrs moved onward in pro 
cession with a joyous and recollected air. Thomas 
walked at the head, holding in his hand the book of lita 
nies; his exterior was so amiable and he appeared so 
cheerful that one could not look at him without being 
moved. He began the litany, and the rest responded. 
They journeyed a distance of two leagues. Having ar 
rived at the place of execution, each one was fastened to 
his stake, and the wood was at once set on fire. They 
all died holding their eyes fixed on heaven, and while 
often repeating, "Have mercy on us, O Lord! have 
mercy on us!" Witnesses have testified that during the 
night a brilliant light was seen over the bodies of these 
martyrs, and that the inhabitants of Mina ascended the 
roofs of their houses to contemplate this prodigy, which 
on the third night was observed by more than three 
hundred persons. 

39$ The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 




A CHRISTIAN woman, called Susanna, of the city of Fa- 
cata, was summoned before the judge with her husband, 
Peter Cabioie, like her a fervent Christian, because they 
had provided lodgings for the missionaries. She took 
into her arms her little girl, aged three, and requested 
that the latter s name should be inscribed on the list of 
Christians. Five days afterwards, seeing herself led 
away with the other prisoners, she took her husband by 
the hand and said to him: "I believe that they are 
going to torture us. I am going away first, and I hope 
with the help of God to remain faithful; I expect of you 
a like firmness. Remember that this life is short, and 
that eternity is very long." 

The judges tried at first to unsettle Susanna by threats; 
then they subjected her modesty to a severe test by 
stripping her of her garments. They moreover sus 
pended her to a tree by her hair; and this was done in 
very cold weather. While she was courageously endur 
ing these tortures, one of the judges, seeing the little 
girl, whom a servant was carrying in her arms, asked to 
whom she belonged. The servant, in order to save it, 
replied that it was her own child. "No," cried out Sus 
anna; " it is my child; look at the list where I have had 
her name inscribed." The judge, full of anger, ordered 
that the little innocent should also be stripped and 
be tied to the feet of her mother. The cold made the 

CHAP, xxvi.] Peter Cabioie, Susanna, and others. 599 

child cry most bitterly, and the mother offered to God 
this cruel torture, which lasted eight whole hours. After 
this an iron collar was put upon her, and being fastened 
to a column she was obliged to serve in the kitchen like 
a slave during six months. Finally, she was conducted 
to Nangasaki, to be put to death with the other martyrs 
of whom we are going to speak. During the journey 
the child was taken from her; and this was for her the 
greatest suffering. 

After Susanna, another valiant woman, named Mon 
ica, the wife of John Naisen, gave an example of a hero 
ism not less wonderful. The governor having ordered 
her to be disrobed, then exposed to the insults of some 
dissolute young men, her husband though a fervent 
Christian, frightened by the sight of such an affront, 
cried out to the governor: " Impious man ! Save the 
honor of my wife, and I will do all that the judge wishes 
me to do." John had then the weakness to say that he 
denied the faith in order that the honor of his wife 
might be respected. Monica, however, remained firm. 
The governor commanded her to take in her hands some 
burning coals that she might feel the torture of fire with 
which he threatened her. As she was stretching out 
her hand the tyrant raised his sword to cut it off, and she 
did not withdraw it. He, however, set her at liberty 
with her husband on account of the words uttered by 
the latter. 

Having gone to his home, John felt so great remorse 
that he resolved to go in search of the governor. The 
latter received him most kindly, praising him for what 
he had done; but John said: "I come to declare to you 
that I spoke against my conscience when I promised you 
that I would do what the judge should command. I 
have not denied the faith in my heart; I therefore pro 
test that I am always a Christian, and I beg you to make 
this known to the judge." The governor, after having 

400 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

conferred with the judge, sent him to prison, whither 
Monica, accompanied by her three young children, soon 
after came to rejoice with him at his repentance. 

Then there was seen another example of Christian 
charity. A young and rich cavalier named Paul Uchi- 
bori, learning that John was incarcerated because he had 
lodged a missionary, went to present himself to the judge 
and told him that it was he, and not John, who had 
given shelter to the missionary. In fact, the mission 
ary, on the evening preceding the day on which he was 
received by John, found himself in the house of Paul, 
where he sojourned for a long time; hence Paul con 
cluded that the punishment should be inflicted on him, 
and not on John. The latter replied that the missionary 
had been secreted at his house, and therefore he should 
be subjected to punishment. The judge taxed these 
two generous men with folly when seeing them thus dis 
pute about the right of dying. Finally, it was decided 
that John should die, and that Paul should be held a 
prisoner. 1 

The number of the condemned was reduced to eight; 
namely, John Naisen, Monica his wife, and little Louis, 
their son; Peter Cabioie and Susanna, his wife; Matthias 
Aragni, John Tanaca, and Catharine his wife. Tanaca 
was a poor laborer, advanced in life. They were in 
formed that they had to proceed to Nangasaki to be exe- 
cuted there; and soon after the saintly cortege set out 
All were on horseback except little Louis, whom a soldier, 
carried in his arms. Arrived at the place of execution, 
the four men who were to be burnt were tied each to his 
stake; the women knelt in prayer near their husbands. 
Louis having been placed on the ground ran towards his 
mother; but Monica made him leave her in order not to 
be disturbed in her prayers, and the child returned to the 

1 We shall hear of his martyrdom in the following chapter. 

CH. xxvn.] Frightful Persecution in Arima. 401 

soldier, who again took him in his arms. John, seeing that 
Louis was frightened, said to him: " My son, take cour 
age, do not fear; we are going to enter Paradise." The 
execution was begun by beheading the three women and 
young Louis; then fire was set to the funeral pile. 
John Tanaca, seeing his fetters consumed, walked 
through the flames and went to kiss the hands of each 
of his companions; he then returned to his place, where 
he fell and expired. Finally, all having accomplished 
their sacrifice, they went to receive in heaven the palm 
that they had merited, July 12, 1625. 





IN 1627, the persecution in the kingdom of Arima was 
redoubled. New tortures were invented to torment the 
Christians more cruelly; and the following was the occa 
sion. The governor of this country was accused of 
malversation and of negligence in driving away the mis 
sionaries. The emperor wished to dismiss him and even 
to deprive him of life; and the latter only escaped by 
promising to exterminate all the Christians of the coun 
try. To this end, he had at first the names of all the 
males, not excepting the smaller children, taken down. 
He then ordered to be manufactured three iron instru 
ments, suitable for forming together the word Qitirixitan, 

402 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

that is, Christian, which was thus divided: Quiri-xi-tan 
being heated in the fire, the three instruments were used 
to impress these characters on the forehead and the two 
cheeks of every Christian. Many apostatized to escape 
this torture; but the rest remained steadfast. 

Two young pages, John and Michael, showed a beauti 
ful example of firmness. The governor, after having 
exhausted every means to make them abandon the Chris 
tian religion, threatened them that he would have all the 
fingers of their hands cut off. They at once boldly pre 
sented their hands, and the governor was on the point 
of executing his threat; but he restrained himself, and 
drove them away from his house. Michael went to a 
forest to hide himself; as for John, he was soon recalled 
by the tyrant, who, finding him always firm in his faith, 
had his face burnt with a torch so that his nostrils were 
entirely destroyed. A rope was then put around his 
neck and attached to a beam in a way that he could 
touch the ground only with the tips of his feet. After 
wards, his hands and feet having been bound behind his 
back, and being raised in the air, he was rapidly turned 
around. This was the cause of terrible anguish, to 
which poor John would have succumbed had not the 
governor released him. He did not die, but he con 
stantly suffered excruciating pains till he had the hap 
piness to give his life for Jesus Christ. 

In the country of Ximabara eighty Christians, seeing 
that the persecution was increasing, encouraged one an 
other to die for the faith. The governor having been 
informed of this, had them conducted into a citadel, 
giving orders to the commandant to force them into 
apostasy; but all his efforts having been useless, he had 
them come out one by one, and outside they were scourged 
in such a manner that many of them lost their lives, and 
the rest scarcely survived. 

The governor gave orders that there should be sent to 


xxvii] Frightful Persecution in A rima. 403 

him at Ximabara the members of the two principal 
families of the city of Cuchinozu; namely, Joachim 
Minesuiedai, his wife Mary, and his mother-in-law 
Mary Piz, who was an octogenarian and blind; Caspar 
Nagaiosan and his wife Isabella. These five persons, 
after having generously confessed the faith, were tied to 
stakes in a public place; then on their forehead and two 
cheeks were burnt with hot-irons the letters which we 
have mentioned, and thus they were exposed for three 
days. After this torment they were remanded to Cuchi 
nozu, there to undergo the same ignominy. 

In this place a young man, twenty-six years old, named 
Xinsaburo, son of a glorious martyr, came to throw him 
self at their feet, which he kissed respectfully. The execu 
tioners, being greatly incensed at this, seized him at once, 
bound him, and inflicted upon him so terrible a bastinado 
that the blood flowed from his nose, mouth, and eyes. 
As he suffered all this without complaint, they cut off 
a finger of his right hand, and having stripped him, he 
was tied with the rest. 

These intrepid martyrs were afterwards led through 
different provinces, to intimidate the Christians by so 
frightful a spectacle, and their number increased little 
by little to eighteen. From city to city sufferings were 
heaped upon them without ceasing. At the same time 
a number of other Christians were seized, and they were 
subjected to various torments. Some had one or more 
fingers cut off with a refinement of cruelty: others had 
all parts of the body burnt with torches; others had their 
limbs broken, and their heads crushed between two pieces 
of wood. A young man of twenty-four years of age, 
named John Cauxichi, was condemned to have his fingers 
cut off with red-hot scissors. He courageously extended 
the hand to endure this torture, but the lieutenant of the 
governor had him conducted to a house in order that an 
effort might be made to pervert him. His hand was 

404 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

taken by force to make him sign the act of renunciation; 
but he seized the paper and tore it up. Whereupon the 
executioners threw themselves upon him in great rage, 
and overwhelmed him with blows. He was bound naked 
to a stake, and the flesh of his fingers was torn with red- 
hot pincers. Then his face and the sides of his body 
were burnt during a whole hour, and in order to com 
pletely disfigure him they rubbed his face with sea 
rushes. John suffered all these torments with admirable 
patience; and thus merited to be placed among the 
nnmber of the eighteen who, having been brought back 
to Ximabara, were there kept in prison while awaiting 
their execution. 

We must also mention another man of Sucori, named 
Thomas Soxin, who was sixty-eight years old, and had 
a son called John Tempei. The latter was at first solic 
ited to renounce the Christian religion, and as he could 
not be gained over, he as well as his father was told to 
prepare himself to undergo the chastisement that the 
governor would inflict upon him. John informed his 
father of what was going on. The good old man seemed 
at that moment to be marvellously fortified by grace; 
and he said to his friends: " Help me to thank God, and 
to employ well the time that remains to me to live." 
The governor made renewed efforts to seduce John; but 
finding him immovable he delivered him into the hands 
of the judges to be put to the torture with his father and 
several others. A gridiron was placed upon burning 
coals, and the good old man Thomas was stretched 
thereupon; two executioners held his hands, and two 
others his feet; they turned his body in every way until 
it was entirely roasted. The martyr bore this torture 
with admirable courage and without uttering a word. 
At last they released him so as to make room for his 
son, who was present. The fire also penetrated him so 
thoroughly that his bones were laid bare. While he was 

CH. xxvii.] Frightful Persecution in A rima. 405 

thus tormented, John did nothing but bless the Lord. 
Having been thus roasted on the gridiron, both were 
fastened to stakes, their ears were cut off, and the name 
Qiiirixitan was impressed on the forehead with hot irons 
so that they could not longer be recognized. 

If any one should blame me for holding up a picture 
of these horrible torments, fearing that while reading 
this narrative one might happen to lose confidence in 
case one should find one s self under similar trials, I 
would beg leave to answer him that the strength to en 
dure torments during the time of persecution is not to 
come from ourselves, but it must be given by God, who 
is all-powerful, and who has promised to hear him who 
prays with confidence: He shall cry to me and I will hear 
him. 1 He who is wanting in confidence in God, is also 
wanting in faith, when he says that he has not enough 
strength; for every one who in a case of necessity re 
commends himself to God, trusting in his promises, will 
surely be victorious, as he is strengthened by him who 
has said to his servants that his help will render them 
capable of all things: / can do all things in him who 
strengtheneth me? In this way the saints surmounted all 
their torments. But let us continue the narrative of the 
cruelties exercised against those of whom we have been 

The other Christians in whose presence Thomas and 
John had been so horribly maltreated were asked whether 
they had the courage to endure similar tortures. Bar 
tholomew Sanniemon, who had been arrested with his 
wife and four of his children, approached and fearlessly 
placed himself in front of the fire. Thereat the execu 
tioners became so enraged that they struck him with 
sticks in such a manner that he fell to the ground like 
one dead. His daughters were then put to the torture. 

1 " Clamabit ad me, et ego exaudiam eum." Ps. xc. 15. 
* " Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat." Phil. iv. 13. 

406 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

One of them, named Regina, as beautiful in mind as she 
was in body, having been strongly solicited to deny her 
faith, answered that she wished to die for Jesus Christ; 
whereupon she was suspended by her feet to a stake, 
and her whole body was burnt by a torch. 

At thjs moment the governor was informed that 
Thomas, who had been put in prison, was about to ex 
pire in consequence of his wounds. The barbarous 
tyrant wished to profit by the remainder of his life 
to torture him still more. By his orders the saintly old 
man was put into a boat. Then after four fingers of his 
hand had been cut off, he was plunged four times into 
the sea; into which he was finally thrown with a stone 
around his neck. He underwent these last cruelties be 
fore the eyes of his son, whose anguish was thereby in 

The martyrs were afterwards transported to other 
cities to frighten the Christians by the spectacle of their 
sufferings; and as John s body was entirely burnt, he 
was put into a coffin made of reeds, that two men carried 
upon their shoulders. He was continually a prey to 
more violent pains; for his numerous wounds became as 
many centres of corruption that had now- begun to mor 
tify. This however did not prevent him from being 
always cheerful and from encouraging others to suffer 
for Jesus Christ. Finally, May 5, in his thirty-seventh 
year he consummated his sacrifice on the cross which he 
was bound, head downward. 

Among a crowd of other glorious athletes of the faith 
there was Peter, a boy, aged thirteen, whom the idolaters 
wished to force to yield to their request by suspending 
him naked to a tree and burning him with torches; yet 
he endured all this with invincible constancy. The ex 
ecutioners knowing no more what cruelty to invent, 
heated an earthen vessel and put it all burning as it was 
into his hand, saying that if he let it fall, it would be a 

CH. xxvii.] Frightful Persecution in Arima. 407 

sign of apostasy. The young hero held the vessel, and 
did not flinch, although the fire penetrated to his very 

Simon Keisaiemon, an old man of sixty-two years, 
showing himself immovable in his faith, was summoned 
by the governor either to abjure or to be thrown naked 
upon a fire of live-coals. The good old man accepted 
this order as coming from God. Fearing that he would 
be giving a sign of infidelity if he did not obey, he im 
mediately disrobed, and boldly stretched himself upon 
the burning coals, where he even turned himself, now 
upon one side, now upon the other; afterwards on his 
face, then on his back, according to the orders that were 
given to him. The tyrant, who was put to shame by so 
heroic conduct, left the place; but those who were pres 
ent took the martyr from the fire and carried him into 
a house, where they him every care. Having thus 
been overcome by the father, the tyrant began to tor 
ment his sons in a horrible manner; but the holy old man 
had the consolation of seeing them come forth victorious 
like himself from the combat. He told them that he 
would die contented, since he had seen their fidelity 
towards God. Full of this joy, he died in consequence 
of the wounds that had been inflicted upon him, Feb 
ruary 23, after ten days of suffering. 

About this time there was taken from the prison Paul 
Uchibori, of whom we have already spoken, 1 with his 
three young sons. The governor to intimidate the father 
asked him which fingers of his eldest sou Anthony he 
wished to have cut off. Paul answered that such a thing 
did not concern him. The tyrant then ordered that 
three fingers of each hand should be cut off. The boy 
at once extended his hand and fearlessly suffered this 
torture. His brother, Balthasar, when seeing him in this 

1 Chapter XXVI., page 400. 

408 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

state, cried out: "O my brother! how beautiful ap 
pear to me your hands that have been thus mutilated 
for the glory of Jesus Christ !" Then he also presented 
his hands to the executioner, who cut each finger several 
times. The third son, named Ignatius, was only five years 
old. On seeing the executioner approach armed with 
his knife, he likewise stretched forth his little hand, and 
this barbarian, having cut his first finger, held it up be 
fore his eyes; then he cut off one finger of the other 
hand, and the child did not utter the least complaint. 
After this torture they were transported with other 
Christians to the sea, into which they were plunged at 
different times, then drawn back into the vessel. Those 
who persevered were finally thrown into the sea with a 
stone around the neck; but several of them, overcome by 
the cold, apostatized. The valiant Paul thus saw three 
of his children drowned in the sea, and he himself ex 
pected in his turn to join them; but he was brought back 
with the rest of the faithful to the sea-shore, where all 
had their faces burnt with red-hot irons and their 
fingers cut off. Paul encouraged his companions, and 
all suffered these tortures with firmness. After having 
been thus mutilated and disfigured, they were set at 
liberty. Paul fell down in a swoon in consequence of 
the great loss of blood; and having revived, he related 
that he had seen his children and that he had received 
from them consolation and encouragement. He then 
retired to a small house where he lived in extreme pov 
erty while awaiting his execution. 

But our martyrs did not long enjoy this liberty; for 
the governor, having resolved to^make them die a cruel 
death, ordered them to go back to prison, and they 
obeyed. Here we must relate the frightful tortures to 
which they were subjected. Two leagues from Nangasaki 
there is a very high and steep mountain that is called 
Mount Ungen. Its summit is divided by three or four 

en. xxvn. i Frightful Persecution in Arinia. 409 

deep abysses, full of sulphurous waters which subterra 
nean fires keep constantly boiling. These waters are 
cast up together with flames through these large open 
ings which the Japanese call the mouths of hell; and 
these masses of liquid are called infernal waters-; they 
are seen to boil and are filled with vapor as if they were 
in a boiler that is placed over a fire. They are precipi 
tated from the mountain with great noise and form 
lakes in different places. In these lakes they preserve 
such a heat that as soon as they touch the flesh they pene 
trate the very bones. It was upon this horrible moun 
tain that the condemned, sixteen in number, were con 
ducted, February 28, in order to be cast into the abyss. 

Among these heroic Christians were several of whom 
we have spoken above; 1 the chief of them being Paul 
Uchibori. They set out on horseback, singing on the 
way the praises of God. Arrived at the summit of the 
mountain whence they directed their looks into the 
frightful abyss, they were not dismayed ; on the con 
trary, Paul and Mary, the wife of Joachim Minesuiedai, 
alone of her sex among this troop of the elect, intoned 
the psalm Laudete Dominum omnes gcntes. After having 
prayed, Paul spoke to the idolaters, saying to them that 
there is only one God, for the love of whom he and his 
companions were sacrificing their lives. He then ex 
horted his brethren, in order to encourage them to sub 
mit to martyrdom. They were conducted to the brink 
of the precipice, where they were stripped of their cloth 
ing. The executioners then passed a rope under their 
armpits, so as to be able to plunge them into the abyss 
and to withdraw them at will. 

The first to gain the palm in the infernal waters was 
Louis Xinsaburo. On receiving the command to throw 
himself into the gulf, being fortified by the spirit of God, 

1 Page 403. 

4io The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

after having made the sign of the cross and invoked 
Jesus and Mary, he precipitated himself without fear, 
and thus consummated his martyrdom. Paul, however, 
informed his companions that it was not permitted to 
throw .one s self into the gulf voluntarily. The execu 
tioners then threw them one after another into the burn 
ing waters so that they could be seen swimming about for 
an instant and then expiring. The last was Paul ; in his 
case after the rope had been fastened to his feet, he was 
plunged into the waters, head foremost, and was drawn 
out half dead ; the same thing was done a second time, 
during which he repeated : " Praised be the Most Blessed 
Sacrament !" Finally he was made to perish in the 
abyss where he obtained his immortal crown, after hav 
ing suffered so many torments for the faith. 

The governor, after having used every effort to seduce 
the men, undertook to pervert the women. One among 
them, named Magdalen, was the wife of Leonard Massu- 
dadeuzo, of whom we shall speak further on. As her 
hand was forcibly held to make her inscribe her name 
on the list of renegades, she struck the register with a 
powerful blow and cried out that she would never obey 
the ministers of Satan. The judges incensed at such 
language, after having inflicted upon her a cruel basti 
nado, sent her to prison and afterwards conducted her 
to the sea. On the way thither she met her brother Cas 
par and wished to bid him farewell ; but the guards 
bound him and took him with her. When they were out 
upon the sea, they asked that Caspar should persuade 
his sister to inscribe her name on the register. "God 
forbid !" cried out the young man, " that I should com 
mit such a crime ; I would rather encourage my sister 
to die for the faith." The guards were on the point of 
throwing him into the sea ; but they abstained from do 
ing so, since they had not received orders to that effect. 
They returned to his sister Magdalen, and enjoined upon 

CH. xxvii.] Frightful Persecution in Arima. 41 1 

her either to renounce her religion or to throw herself into 
the sea. The pious woman replied : " It is in vain that you 
importune me to make me abandon my faith ; all the 
torments in the world could never force me to do such a 
thing. As for throwing myself into the sea, do it your 
selves ; I am ready to die, but I must not cause my own 
death." Upon this declaration her hands and feet were 
tied and she was plunged into the water four times. 
Finally, because of her unshaken constancy she was 
precipitated into the sea with a stone fastened to her 
neck, and she thus gained the victory. 

After that another Magdalen was seized. She had al 
ready suffered much for not renouncing her religion. 
She had been plunged twice into the sea, but when she 
saw that a stone was being fastened to her neck to drown 
her, she unfortunately failed and declared herself con 
quered. Although since that time she did not cease to 
lament and protest that she was a Christian, history does 
not inform us how she ended her life. 

The governor having been told that the waters of the 
sea could not shake the constancy of the prisoners again 
condemned to the infernal fires ten of them, eight men 
and two women. On hearing this the servants of God 
passed the whole night in prayer; and on the following 
day, on arriving at the summit of Mt. Ungen, they pros 
trated themselves on the ground to honor the place of 
their martyrdom. One of them, Paul Mofioie, embrac 
ing his father, said: "What thanks shall we render 
to God for the honor that he confers upon us to die to 
gether for his glory ?" Paul was the first that was low 
ered into the abyss ; he was soon after withdrawn to see 
whether he would surrender; but, as he was about to 
expire and did not answer, a large quantity of the burn 
ing water was thrown upon him, and he was thus de 
prived of life. The executioner then set to torturing 
the courageous Joachim Suquidaia. They first made 

412 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

him feel the painful effects of the infernal waters: then 
seeing his constancy, they opened his sides in different 
places with blows of a knife, and poured into his wounds 
the horrible liquid. Joachim, however, remained un 
shaken till his last breath. After him came John Chiza- 
buro s turn. A pagan who wished to save him led him 
aside, and after having conversed with him a few mo 
ments, he went to tell the judge that John had submitted; 
but becoming aware of this trick, the generous martyr 
cried out that he wished to live and to die a Christian. 
The judge in his anger ordered that his sides should be 
cut open and the burning water should be poured into 
his wounds. During this torture, the servant of God did 
not cease to say : " My Jesus ! do not remove Thy pres 
ence from me !" Finally, the executioners being fatigued, 
bound the other martyrs together and poured upon 
them such a quantity of the poisonous liquid that they 
soon expired. Their bodies were quite disfigured as if 
they had been flayed alive. This execution took place 
in the month of May. 

There yet remained in prison a faithful soldier of 
Jesus Christ. It was Leonard Massudadenzo, the hus 
band of the courageous Magdalen mentioned above. 
He had been accused of theft, a crime of which he was 
declared innocent. The governor offered him liberty 
on condition that he would renounce Jesus Christ. 
Leonard answered that he did not wish to abandon his 
faith, even though he would have to endure the evils of 
the whole world. At these words the tyrant had him 
come before him, and seizing in his rage a hammer, he 
crushed all the fingers of one hand, one after another, 
asking him at each blow whether he persisted in his re 
fusal. The holy martyr was then remanded to prison. 
On another day he was forced to swallow a large quan 
tity of water; when he was gorged with it, he was 
stretched on the ground, where one of the executioners 

CH. xxvin.] Louis Yemondono and others. 413 

stood upon his abdomen, and while trampling it with 
his feet, made him vomit forth the water, which came 
with the blood through his mouth, nose, and eyes. He 
was then placed upon a ladder, on which h was violently 
drawn with ropes attached to his hands and feet. The 
servant of God afterwards related that during these tor 
tures he was consoled by the apparition of his wife, 
Magdalen, and that she encouraged him, saying: " Leon 
ard, be faithful to God." The judge not being able to 
shake his constancy, sent him back again to prison, 
where he spent several months, fasting three times a 
week, wearing hair-cloth, scourging himself with the 
discipline in order to obtain the grace of martyrdom of 
which he believed himself deprived on account of his 
sins. He there baptized an idolater, converted two 
apostates, and encouraged all the faithful to suffer for 
Jesus Christ. Finally, the Lord hearing his prayer and 
his desire to die a martyr of the faith, he was condemned 
to be beheaded, and he thus consummated his sacrifice, 
December 13, 1627. 




THE following year, 1628, a young prince, Lord of 
Jonezava, in order to commend himself to the emperor, 
enjoined upon a governor to force all the Christians of 
his States to follow the religion of the country. This 
governor, who was of a gentle and conciliatory dispo- 

414 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

sition, in order to calm him, informed him that there 
were no Christians in his dominion. Another function 
ary, however, a rival of the former, made up a long list 
of Christians and sent it to the prince. 

A little while after the prince asked the governor who 
among his subjects was the best captain whom he could 
safely promote to a higher rank. The governor pro 
posed to him Yemondono as the most worthy of all; but 
the prince, knowing that he was a Christian, said that he 
could not intrust his states to a man of this religion. 
To which the governor replied that Yemondono had 
been a Christian, but was so no longer. "If this is the 
case," answered the prince, " I will promote him." 

Upon this promise the governor went in search of 
Yemondono witli other friends, and endeavored to per 
suade him to accept the advantageous offers. Yemon 
dono replied that there was no fortune in this world that 
could detach him from Jesus Christ. Having been in 
formed of this, the prince ordered the governor to put 
to death Yemondono, his wife, his children, and all 
Christians. Whereupon the governor said to him: 
"Shall we sacrifice more than three thousand persons?" 
He knew that he would lose his life if he did not obey; 
yet thought it expedient to represent to his young mas 
ter that all the precepts of the Christian law were full 
of justice, and that among them was one that specially 
ordained that one should expose one s life in the service 
of the prince. The tyrant would, however, not heed 
these representations, and confirmed the order that he 
had given, namely, that all the Christians should die. 

The eldest son of Louis Yemondono, named Michael 
Taiemon, aged twenty-three, was at that time grievously 
ill; but hearing of the general condemnation of the 
Christians, leaped from his bed and cried out that joy 
had healed him. He had himself carried to the house 
of his venerable father, who rejoiced with him at the 

CH. xxviii. ] Louis Yemondono and others. 415 

good news and gave thanks to God. His second son, 
Vincent Ichibioie, did not delay to visit the paternal 
roof, Two officers afterwards came who were charged 
with the duty to announce to Yemondono that the prince 
had condemned him and his whole family to die on the 
following day, January 12. The good old man answered 
that he thanked the prince for making him die for so 
noble a cause; then addressing his two sons, he said to 
them: " Now, my dear children, I have nothing more to 
desire, since God is pleased that I should make him a 
sacrifice of my life, a grace for which I have always 
been longing." Michael and Vincent, animated with 
the same sentiments, united their thanksgivings to those 
of their father. The two young women, Dominica and 
Thecla, the wives of the two brothers, having heard of 
what was going on, and burning with the same desire 
for martyrdom, hastened to join their husbands; they 
each had a little daughter that they carried in their arms. 

Yemondono then desired to give his servants their 
discharge, and to make them presents; but they refused 
even the salary that was due to them, and declared that 
they all wished to die for Jesus Christ. The servants of 
Michael and those of his brother spoke in the same way. 
Among them was a young page, less than twelve years 
old, who was to be sent home to his parents, but he 
refused to go. He afterwards consented to return to 
his father s house, but only to take leave. His father 
endeavored to retain him by force; but the boy reso 
lutely told him that he did not wish to lose so beautiful 
an occasion to prove his fidelity to his God; after this 
he fled from the house, and returned to join the martyrs. 

The night was passed in exercises of piety and in 
making preparations under the direction of the saintly 
old man. Two hours before day the officers of justice 
arrived; they found the servants of God awaiting the 
moment of their sacrifice. Upon all a rope was put 

41 6 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

around the neck, and their hands were tied oehind the 
back, with the exception of the women and Yemondono. 
Remaining thus free to receive the executioners, he 
went to meet them with a smiling countenance; then 
he was bound like the rest. All knelt down before an 
image of the Mother of God that was fastened to a pike. 
A young page was charged with carrying this holy 
standard, and another had to accompany him with a 
blessed candle that was burning. The pious cortege 
finally left the house in the following order: after the 
two pages came the women; Thecla had her little 
daughter in her arms, and that of Dominica was carried 
by her chamber-maid; then followed the men, masters 
and servants; and the brave Yemondono closed the pro 
cession. They all showed so great a modesty that the 
idolaters were themselves deeply moved. Arrived at 
the place of execution, they fell on their knees, and 
again recommended themselves to the Blessed Virgin. 
All, to the number of fifteen, were beheaded, the women 
first, the men afterwards; their venerable chief, Yemon 
dono, was the last that was executed; he received the 
mortal blow while pronouncing the names of Jesus and 

There were left five of his servants who expected to 
die with the rest; but they were told to return home. 
These poor men, who were greatly distressed, said to 
the judge: "We are Christians as well as those who 
have just died; why do you not make us die with them ?" 
Whilst thus speaking they remained on their knees. 
The two young pages refused above all to rise and to 
go away; they had to be forced out of the enclosure. 
They returned home, weeping for not having obtained 
the grace of being executed with the rest. 

A second band of Christians, composed of seven 
persons, all of the same family, were afterwards put to 
death. Then came a nobleman, named Simon Xuzaie- 

en. xxviii.] Louis Yemondono and others. 417 

mon, with his daughter, aged thirteen, whom some 
idolaters carried off in the hope of perverting them; 
but she escaped from their hands, and ran to the place 
of execution, where her father was already on his knees 
awaiting death; she placed herself by his side, and both 
were beheaded. 

On the same day there was also executed a highly 
distinguished young lord named Paul Xiquibu, a great 
friend of Yemondono. The governor having notified 
him the previous evening to prepare himself, he sent his 
thanks to him. After midnight an emissary arrived, 
with orders to behead him when the sun should rise. 
Paul began to pray, and when morning came, set out for 
the place of execution. Magdalen, his wife, wished to 
follow him, but she was prevented from doing so: she 
was told that the prince, at the instance of her father, 
allowed her to live. This generous woman replied that 
it was an injustice to let a Christian wife live while they 
put to death her Christian husband. An officer seeing 
her burst into tears, to console her, said to her that he 
would try to procure for her the death that she de 
sired; he added that the prince would not execute her 
publicly on account of the promise that he had given to 
her father; but he promised to come in the evening to 
behead her in her apartments. In the mean time, Paul, 
who had heard this whole conversation, seeing the ardent 
desire that his virtuous spouse showed to die for Jesus 
Christ, wept for joy; full of this sweet consolation, he 
walked cheerfully to the place of execution, where, after 
having prayed, he received the death-blow, and the palm 
that nothing can tarnish. 

One league from Jonezava there lived several Chris 
tian noblemen belonging to the prince s court. The 
more distinguished among them were Anthony Anazava 
and Ignatius Soiemon. While they were absent, their 
wives, in order to save them, declared that their luis- 

4 1 8 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART u. 

bands were not Christians. But our two heroes, when 
they heard of this, hastened to go in search of the gov 
ernor, to let him know that their wives had deceived 
him. The latter having told them that they should 
obey the prince, they replied that if the prince wished to 
be obeyed he had but to order their death and they 
would be ready to submit to it. 

Three days after, Anthony being in a house with 
soldiers, the latter pressed him to deny the faith, because 
they had received orders to arrest him in case of refusal. 
"That is right," Anthony answered: "do your duty at 
once." But as no one dared to put his hand upon him, 
he took the rope himself and passed it around his neck; 
then having put his hands behind his back, he begged 
them to tie him. Thus bound he went to the house of 
Ignatius, to whom he said on entering: "Well, friend, 
what say you about the state in which you see me?" 
"You never," answered Ignatius, "appeared to me more 
worthy of honor than on this day on which you carry 
the livery of Jesus Christ; I wish to share your glory." 
Having said this, he begged and obtained the favor of 
being bound like Anthony. 

Four other noblemen were also arrested, among whom 
was Paul, the eldest son of Anthony. His two younger 
sons, Mancio and Michael, the former fourteen, the latter 
eleven years of age, having come to visit him, he said to 
them: "As you see, I am bound; are you not also ready 
to die for Jesus Christ?" "Yes," they answered, "we 
are ready." They presented themselves to the soldiers 
to be bound; but the latter said to them that if they 
wished to die with their father, they needed only to fol 
low him. 

A short time afterwards, by order of the prince, the 
men were conducted to another place, where they were 
beheaded. Their wives, who were also condemned, were 
taken with their children into the yard of the house that 

CHAP, xxix.i Isabella, Simeon, Father Iscida. 419 

had belonged to Ignatius, where they suffered the same 
punishment. Mancio and Michael having knelt down to 
receive the death-blow, the pagans who were present 
were touched with compassion, and cried out that these 
boys did not even know why they died; but both an 
swered with firmness: " We die for Jesus Christ." Where 
upon the executioners decapitated at first Mancio, the 
elder son. Michael, seeing his brother dead, put his 
hands to his hair to raise it up; at the same moment 
the executioner cut off with one blow of the sabre not 
only the head, but also the two hands a spectacle that 
drew tears from the eyes of those present. 




ABOUT the year 1629 there came to Nangasaki a new 
governor, who was more cruel than all the rest. He 
made a large number of the faithful ascend the horrible 
Mount Ungen, and gave orders that they should be tor 
mented as much as possible without causing their death, 
because death under these torments was the object of 
their desires. Among them was a young woman named 
Isabella, whose husband had denied the faith. She was 
placed on the brink of the abyss; there a large stone 
was fastened to her neck, and a small one was put on her 
head; she was told that if she let it fall, this would be a 
sign of apostasy. Isabella answered that even if her head 
were to fall, her soul would always remain firm and con- 

420 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

stant in the faith. She nevertheless kept the same pos 
ture for several hours, and did not let the stone fall from 
her head. She passed the whole night in prayer. On 
the following day, from morning till night, burning water 
was poured on her head from time to time. She was 
treated in this manner for several days, and at intervals 
new cruelties were inflicted upon her. * Every time they 
urged her to submit she answered: "I am a Christian, 
and I will be one till death." " But," said the execu 
tioners to her, " we will torment you in this way for ten, 
twenty years." " Ah," she cried, " ten, twenty years! that 
is too short a time; if I lived a hundred years I should 
esteem myself happy to suffer all this time the same 
tortures for the love of God." This torture lasted thir 
teen days, and the servant of God passed six of them 
without drinking, eating, or sleeping her whole body 
being one wound. Finally, despairing of being able to 
conquer her, she had to be taken back to Nangasaki, 
where the governor had her hand taken by force to in 
scribe her name on the list of renegades; he then dis 
missed her. She, however, remained firm in her faith, 
and the pagans could not help admiring her courage. 

The governor having ordered that all those who were 
imprisoned for the faith should be prosecuted, there 
were found among them two brothers, Alexis and Simeon. 
Alexis being asked to deny his faith, protested that he* 
would never consent; however, he had the misfortune 
to yield later on and to deny his faith. The judge then 
took in hand Simeon, the younger brother, who was in 
his nineteenth year; he asked him whether he had applied 
himself to study. "Others," said Simeon in reply, 
" study to succeed in the world; but I have studied only 
to learn how to die well." The judge having told him 
that many Christians advanced in age had abandoned 
the faith to save their lives, he replied: "As for myself, 
I am sure that I cannot be saved except in my religion; 

CHAP, xxix.] Isabella, Simeon, Father Iscida. 421 

let others do what they please, I will never abandon it." 
After this, the governor condemned him with several 
others to be conducted to Mount Ungen. 

Arrived at the summit of the mountain, Simeon was 
stripped and tied; then subjected to the same treatment 
as Isabella; but after several hours of the most excruci 
ating sufferings he fell into a swoon. The same thing 
was renewed on the following day. When he recovered 
his senses he heard the executioners still speaking to him 
about denying his faith; he then said to them: "Know 
that whatever may be the torments that you make me 
endure, I will never adore your false gods." Irritated 
at these words, the judge ordered that he should be sub 
jected for the third time to the punishment of the in 
fernal waters. The executioners having again stripped 
him saw his body all covered with the most frightful 
wounds; nevertheless they stretched him on the ground, 
and continued to pour the horrible liquid on his flesh 
that was already consumed. The poor young man, 
quite exhausted, fainted again; he was placed in the 
cabin where he had been before, and left lying upon 
the ground. The wounds then began to putrefy, and 
worms were engendered. This created such a stench 
that in order to frighten Isabella, the valiant woman of 
whom we have spoken, she was threatened with being 
shut up in the same cabin with Simeon. The governor 
fearing that the patient might die, sent a doctor to cure 
him, or if he could not restore him to health, to have 
him sent back to his father. For the emperor desired 
that the Christians should no longer be put to death, 
but that they should be tormented till they renounced the 
faith; a barbarous invention inspired by the devil. The 
doctor despairing of being able to heal Simeon, had him 
transported to his father s house; but the saintly youth 
was told that should he recover, he would be tortured 
anew. To this he replied, " That is just what I desire." 

422 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

The young man arrived at his father s house more 
dead than alive. As the Christians came to visit him 
and congratulated him for having suffered so much 
for God, he made the request that in order to be freed 
from hearing such eulogies the door should be closed to 
every one. There in solitude he was often heard to re 
peat: " Oh, my Jesus ! Thy wounds, not mine, are great; 
all that I suffer is nothing in comparison with what Thou 
hast suffered for me." On the third day he asked that his 
face be washed. " But, my son," said the father to him, 
" do you not know that your face is but one wound ? To 
wash it would only increase your sufferings." Simeon 
replied: "Wash it as well as you can; do you not see 
that I am going to paradise?" Then he asked for his 
crucifix, saying that he wished to give up his soul into 
the sacred wounds of the Saviour. It was given to him; 
and not being able to raise his arms to embrace it, he 
said: " Oh, my Saviour ! have pity on me." Then pro 
nouncing the names of Jesus and Mary, he gave up his 
spirit to God, August 29, 1630. His father and his other 
relatives wept, but less for grief than for joy that they 
experienced in seeing this martyr in the bosom of their 

The persecution in this country raged afterwards with 
such fury that of six hundred thousand Christians who 
had been counted before, there soon remained no more 
than forty thousand, the rest having been either per 
verted or martyred. It was not long after those of 
whom we have just spoken that Father Anthony Iscida, 
a Japanese and missionary of the Society of Jesus, also 
won with much glory the immortal crown. Having 
been in prison at Omura for three years, he was worn 
out with sufferings. The governor not ceasing to press 
him to return to the worship of the gods of the country 
in which he had been born, this good priest answered: 
" In order to affect me it will be necessary to threaten 

CHAP, xxxi James Cufioie and his Family. 423 

me with sparing my life. My most ardent desire is to 
suffer much and to die for Jesus Christ." The tyrant 
had him conducted to Mount Ungen, where, after his 
limbs had been dislocated, he was for thirty days subjected 
to torture by means of the sulphurous waters. He was 
finally burnt alive at Nangasaki, and thus consummated 
his sacrifice in the sixty-fourth year of his age. 




WE shall now relate the martyrdom of James Cufioie, 
one of the most zealous and most charitable Christians 
in the kingdom of Fingo. He lived at Nangasaki. 
Having offered his house as an asylum to Father Iscida, 
he was arrested and imprisoned with him. When he saw 
himself a prisoner, he regulated his time and his devo 
tions in the following manner: He fasted the whole 
week, except on Sundays; he wore continually a hair- 
shirt, and spent daily twelve hours in prayer, in order to 
obtain from God the grace to die for the faith. The 
grace was granted him; for he was condemned to death 
by fire, and his mother, named Mary, was sentenced to 
die at the same time by being beheaded. 

There was a woman named Agatha, who having learned 
that her husband had been condemned to death with his 
mother, while she herself was spared, went at once to 
visit them in prison. James seeing her weep, said to 
her: " Agatha, why these tears ? Are you weeping on 
account of my death ?" "No," she replied, " I weep be- 

424 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

cause I was not condemned with you." James held out 
to her the hope that this consolation would not be re 
fused to her. 

Mary gave thanks to God, happy to see herself on the 
point of dying for Jesus Christ. The soldiers did not 
hesitate to take the son and the mother in order to lead 
them to the place of execution. Having arrived there, 
James embraced the stake that awaited him; he was 
then bound to it; and when the flames surrounded him 
on all sides, he began to sing the psalm Laudate Domi- 
unm omncs gentes. Scarcely had he finished it when he 
fell and gave up his soul to God. Mary, his good 
mother, after having offered to the Lord the sacrifice of her 
son, who was immolated before her eyes, knelt down and 
presented her head to the executioner, who immediately 
cut it off. A few days after, James appeared to one of 
his friends, and being somewhat anxious about the 
salvation of his soul, said to him: "My friend, every 
thing passes away; whence comes it that you neglect 
your salvation, and that you do not work for eternity?" 

Agatha in the mean time was inconsolable at finding 
herself still living. Five days after, it was announced 
to her that her three young sons had just been con 
demned to death. Far from being afflicted by this news, 
she rejoiced at the thought that to her children was as 
sured the possession of eternal happiness. She only re 
gretted that she was not able to follow them, and there 
fore said to the soldiers: "If my children are to die, 
why do you let me live me, who am their mother?" 
The eldest, called John, was only nine years old; Michael, 
the second, was five; Ignatius, only two. This little 
innocent was at play when he was told that he was to 
die; and at once, how wonderful ! he entered the house 
without emotion, took his rosary, and knelt down for the 
purpose of praying. 

The three young martyrs, after having bid farewell to 

CHAP, xxx.] James Cufioic and his Family. 425 

their mother, put themselves at the disposal of the 
soldiers. This affectionate mother accompanied them 
for some time; then having embraced them, she retired 
while encouraging them to die for God. When they 
reached the place of execution, John prostrated himself 
and lowered his collar in expectation of death; but the 
executioner, who trembled in performing so barbarous 
an action, missed his aim, and threw the boy on the 
ground. John arose again, and received a second blow, 
that severed his head from the body. The executioner 
passing then to Michael, missed him as he had missed 
his brother, and despatched him on \y after the second 
blow. There remained only the little Ignatius, who, 
with his hands joined, was awaiting tranquilly his turn; 
on seeing the boy, who, because of his smallness, was an 
object difficult to aim at, the executioner shook in every 
limb. With a trembling hand he aimed two blows at 
him, the first having missed. The spectators became 
quite indignant, and wished to rush upon the cruel 
wretch to tear him in pieces, but the judge hindered 
them from doing so. 

Leo Tasuque, the maternal uncle of the three boys, was 
present at their execution, and he was put to death after 
them. He was a Christian of great virtue. As soon as 
James, his son-in-law, was arrested, he prepared himself 
for martyrdom. When his three grandchildren were 
taken to be led to execution, he accompanied them to 
the gate of the street, where he embraced them, repeat 
ing several times, with tears in his eyes: "Farewell, my 
dear children; when you get to paradise, do not forget 
me." On reaching his house he began to pray; but 
scarcely had he begun when he heard a confusion of 
voices saying: "Kill him, kill him !" Agatha hastened 
to the place whence the noise proceeded, and believing 
that she was the object of search, presented herself in 
order to be conducted to prison; but the soldiers cried 

426 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

out: " Go away; it is not you whom we are seeking, but 
Tasuque, your father." The saintly old man, hearing 
his name mentioned, arose at once, and advanced to 
wards them. A soldier threw himself upon him to tie 
him. "One moment, I beg you," said Leo to him; your 
cords are too weak; I am going to give you better ones." 
He then produced iron handcuffs, which he told him to 
fasten on him. He was at once conducted to the place 
where his three grandchildren were awaiting death. 
After they had been beheaded, he himself was also put 
to death in the same manner. 

There now remained to poor Agatha of all the rela 
tives only a little daughter, who to her great grief she 
saw taken from her without being able to die with her. 
We do not know what finally became of this desolate 
mother, because these facts occurred in 1630, and after 
this period we find no accurate accounts of what took 
place in Japan. 






BUGONDONO, the furious tyrant who persecuted the 
faithful in the kingdom of Arima * with so much cruelty, 
became more and more ferocious. He formed the plan 
to have them conducted into the pagan temples so as to 
force them to worship the false gods. Three hundred 
of them showed an admirable constancy in the midst of 

1 Chap. XXVII., page 401. 

CHAP, xxxi.] TJiomas Quichibioie and others. 427 

the torments to which they were subjected. Of this 
number was a woman of high rank with her family. Her 
daughter, aged thirteen, was tortured in a horrible man 
ner. Among the means that were employed to make 
her suffer was that of burying pointed reeds in her flesh; 
she was then roasted with burning coals; and when the 
executioners were tired of tormenting her, they would 
leave her only to return to their horrible work. 

The tyrant afterwards conceived the idea of exercising 
a piece of diabolical cruelty against the fathers and the 
mothers of those who withstood the tortures. He 
gathered together a large number of the children of 
those who refused to renounce Jesus Christ, and after 
having skinned their hands, he placed upon them burning 
coals, saying that if they withdrew their hands this 
would be a sign of apostasy. There were some who 
withdrew their hands, though they protested they did 
not cease to be Christians; but many others bore with 
out flinching this awful pain. They were thus tormented 
before the eyes of their parents, the majority of whom 
yielded through compassion for their children. There 
were about fifty of them who remained firm in the faith. 

These last were conducted to Ximabara, where they 
were subjected to unheard-of trials. They were made 
to sit on two stakes placed in the form of a cross in a 
hole; then two boards hollowed out held them tightly 
by the neck; so that only the head could be seen above, 
whilst the body was in the hole. They remained in this 
position night and day. Every day, among the tortures 
that they had to suffer, a part of the neck was sawed 
with a wooden saw, precautions being taken to prolong 
their sufferings. A nobleman, named Thomas Quichi 
bioie, bore this torment for seven days, at the end of 
which, May 31, 1630, he had his head entirely cut off. 
The example of his courage caused three of his com 
panions to enter into themselves, as they had yielded 

428 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART IT. 

after resisting a long time. They deplored their un 
faithfulness, and having again declared themselves 
Christians, were beheaded soon after. 

But here the vengeance of God burst forth against the 
tyrant. He was at once seized with a burning fever, 
which made him furious, and caused him to utter loud 
cries. He sought everywhere for remedies, and several 
were offered him. He desired to mix and to take them 
all at once, saying that if each of the remedies could 
heal him, he would be still more sure of being cured by 
taking them all at once. Scarcely had he swallowed a 
part of the medicine when all his teeth fell out, and he felt 
as if there was a burning fire in his entrails. He thought 
that he would have recourse to the waters of Mount 
Ungen, of which salutary baths were made by tempering 
them with cold water; but as soon as he was in the bath, 
he cried out that he was all on fire, and that the sight of 
the heads of all the Christians whom he had made to 
die caused him an insupportable torture. He thus ex 
pired in a transport of rage, in the month of December 
of the year 1630. 





WE have reached the end of this history; but before 
concluding it, it may be permitted to me to relate one 
more fact that was glorious for the faith. Father Sebas 
tian Vieyra, a Portuguese Jesuit, expelled from Japan 
in 1614, came to Rome some years after, to render an 

CH. xxxn.j FatherVieyra Endoftke Mission. 429 

account to the Holy Father of the state of his mission. 
He then returned to Japan, into which he penetrated in 
disguise in 1632. The governor of Nangasaki having 
succeeded in capturing him, immediately gave informa 
tion of this to the young emperor, who ordered that he 
should be taken to Jedo for the purpose of obtaining 
from him news from Europe. Having arrived at this 
capital, he was visited by the lords of the court, and he 
spoke to them freely about the truths of our faith. The 
emperor wished to have in writing an abridgment of the 
Christian doctrines. When these memoirs had been 
carried to the court, and the reading of them had begun, 
it was remarked that the emperor seemed as if wavering 
and agitated by various thoughts, above all when the 
article about the immortality of the soul was read. He 
then said: "This bonze of Europe is a man of good 
faith; he exposes with sincerity the mysteries of his re 
ligion." He added: " If what he says of the immortality 
of the soul be true, as it seems to be, what will become 
of us, unhappy beings that we are?" The more the 
reading continued, the more the emperor appeared to be 
moved; but all the lights that he had on the truth of 
our faith were soon obscured by the discourses of Oien- 
dono, his uncle, who persuaded him that all that the 
missionary had advanced was a tissue of lies, and that 
it was something unworthy of a prince to abandon the 
religion of his ancestors in order to embrace that of a 
stranger, an emissary of the King of Spain, who aspired 
to take possession of Japan as he had already done in 
the case of the Philippine islands. The young prince, 
imbued from his infancy with pagan maxims, yielded at 
once to the reasons given by his uncle, and condemned 
the holy missionary to the following torture: after he 
had been led through the streets of the city in a most 
ignominious way, he was suspended in a grave, his head 
downwards and his hands tied behind his back; two 

430 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

boards hollowed out held him tightly in the middle of 
the body, depriving him entirely of light. He, however, 
predicted that he would die only by fire. In fact, at the 
end of three days, on finding him quite fresh, as if he 
had not suffered at all, the executioners kindled a large 
fire in the grave, and he thus consummated his martyr 
dom, January 6, 1634. 

It was about this time that all the missionaries having 
been martyred or banished, with the exception of some 
who concealed themselves, the mission ceased to exist 
in Japan. Numerous spies were kept all along the coast, 
with orders to be on the watch for strangers and to 
oblige them as soon as discovered to trample on the 
crucifix. It was, therefore, no longer possible for any 
missionary to go there to keep alive the faith of the 
Christians who still remained. Those who were still 
devoting themselves to this heroic undertaking were 
soon arrested and put to death. The ports remained 
open only to the Protestant Hollanders, because the 
latter declaring that they did not belong to the Catholic 
Church, and rejecting the veneration of holy images, felt 
no repugnance in stepping upon the crucifix. The last 
missionary who died in Japan was Father Christopher 
Ferreyra; though in 1633 out of fear for the torments 
that were inflicted he had the misfortune to apostatize. 
After having passed nineteen years in this sad state, he 
acknowledged his sinfulness, again confessed Jesus 
Christ, and courageously submitted to the sentence of 
death, which was carried out in 1652. 

To sum up, the mission of Japan lasted only eighty- 
four years since St. Francis Xavier opened it in 1549, 
and according to the best historians, this was eight 
years after the discovery of the islands or of the sixty- 
six kingdoms of which this empire is composed, and it 
ceased, as we have said, about the year 1633. Never 
theless, this last persecution did not entirely extinguish 

CH. xxxii.] Father Vieyra End of theMission. 431 

the faith in Japan, where one could still count many 
Christians; and even though at the present time there 
are no more to be found, one may hope that, as the 
faith has passed from Japan to China, so by an admira 
ble substitution of grace, it will return from China to 
Japan. It is certain that so many martyrs, who have 
sacrificed their lives for Jesus Christ, will not cease to 
intercede for the salvation of their countrymen, and we 
are justified in entertaining the hope that one day, in 
consideration of their merits, God will deliver from the 
servitude of the devil these unhappy countries. 1 

1 At this moment the hope that our holy author has expressed is 
being realized. In 1846, the Holy See having a presentiment of the 
possibility, more or less proximate, of causing the light of faith to pene 
trate again the empire of Japan, judged it opportune to create an apos 
tolic vicariate for this country; but it was only nine years later that 
three missionaries succeeded in establishing themselves at Nafa, in the 
islands of Lou-Tchou, that are dependents of Japan. They began to 
study the language of the country while awaiting the moment in which 
it would be permitted them to go farther. Finally October 9, 1858, the 
representative of France, having for interpreter one of the missionaries, 
signed at Jedo a treaty of which article 4 is couched in the following 
terms: " The French subjects in Japan shall have the right to the free 
exercise of their religion; and to this end they may there erect, on the 
ground destined for their residence, edifices suitable for their worship, 
such as churches, chapels, cemeteries, etc. The Japanese government 
has already abolished in the empire the use of practices that are injur 
ious to Christianity." 

By virtue of this treaty, the missionaries had the liberty of establish 
ing themselves in the seven ports opened to commerce, and to exer- 
ercise there their ministry in favor of strangers; they were not yet 
allowed to do so in behalf of the natives. In 1860, one of them settled 
at Hakodate, where the authorities received him with favor, and he was 
preparing to erect with their co-operation a European-Japanese hospital. 

The first Catholic church which was restored in Japan, after two cen 
turies and a half of absolute proscription, was solemnly blessed at 
Yokohama, the residence of the Prefect Apostolic, on Sunday, January 
12, 1862, in the presence of the minister of France and of a great con 
course of resident strangers of every denomination and country. It 

43 2 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Before concluding -I will here relate a very edifying 
occurrence. Toward the end of the mission there was a 
religious of the Order of St. Augustine, who to remain 
unknown became a vender of chestnuts, and entered 
under this disguise one of the vessels. As he asked too 
much for his chestnuts some one gave him a blow on 
the cheek; but he received this affront without the 
slightest emotion, and continued quietly to offer his 
chestnuts for sale. The idolaters, observing that such 
meekness was not a virtue practised among them, sus 
pected the vender of being a Christian, arrested him and 
put him to death, after the religious had openly pro 
fessed his faith. Wonderful power of the grace of Jesus 
Christ, who gives to his servants the strength to practise 
virtues unknown among pagans ! 

afterwards became the goal of continual visits of a multitude of Japan 
ese, not only from the environs, but even from distant provinces, so 
that the government, alarmed at this sympathetic concourse of people, 
desired to oppose the mission with its usual violence. Notwithstanding 
this obstacle, the grandest hopes were entertained. At the beginning 
of the year 1863, M, Girard, the Prefect Apostolic, made a voyage to 
Europe in the interest of his mission; he was accompanied by a young 
Japanese, who received at Rome from the hands of the Cardinal Vicar 
the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation. The Holy 
Father with a heavenly joy blessed in the person of this convert the first 
fruits of new Christianity in Japan. There are, at present, in Japan, 2 
vicariates, 58 priests, 2 seminaries with 70 students, and 30,000 Catho 
lics, out of an entire population of 34,000,000. The permission to 
spread Christianity has brought, to the scandal of the heathen, the rival 
gospels of American and English Protestants and Russo-Greeks, with 
European infidelity. 

According to a statement of the London Tablet of 1887, Southern 
Japan possesses a bishop, thirty-two European missioners, fifty cate- 
chists, thirteen nuns of the Holy Child Jesus, and fourteen Sisters of St. 
Paul of Chartres. The mission comprises sixteen districts, eighty-seven 
Christian settlements, forty-one churches or chapels, a seminary with 
twelve pupils, nineteen schools with 608 pupils, six orphanages, seven 
girls schools, and three pharmacies; 1667 baptisms, of which 989 arc 
adults, have been administered during 1885-86. En, 

Conclusion. 433 


WE here finish our history of the victories gained by 
the martyrs, a work the reading of which will specially 
awaken in us two useful reflections: 

The first reflection is that we should have great con 
fidence in the intercession of the martyrs, who, while 
offering to God the sacrifice of their lives, have acquired 
great influence with him for obtaining for us the graces 
that we desire. The faithful who wish to invoke them 
can use the prayer that we have offered to their piety at 
the beginning. 1 

The second reflection, more important than the first, 
is, that if the martyrs have made themselves endeared to 
us by so many sufferings that they endured for Jesus 
Christ, and by the courage that they inspire in us to 
suffer also for him, with how much greater reason should 
we love this divine Master himself, who has deigned 
to descend from heaven and expire in pain on a cross in 
order to save us ! If the martyrs merit our compassion 
and our love because they were innocent and holy, how 
much greater compassion and love should we have for 
Jesus Christ, who being innocence and holiness itself, 
died on the infamous gibbet to expiate our iniquities ! 

Let us, therefore, love this King of the Martyrs, as St. 
Augustine calls him; let us love this Good Pastor who 
loved us so as to give his life for us, his sheep, and his 
ungrateful sheep ! And if we have shown ingratitude 
to him in the past, let us try, during the rest of our lives, 
to please and to love him with all our strength. For 
this purpose let us have our eyes constantly fixed on 

1 Page 40. 


434 The Martyrs of Japan. [PART n. 

Jesus crucified; let us every day meditate for some time 
on the sorrowful martyrdom that he suffered for us, a 
martyrdom that comprised and surpassed immensely 
the pains endured by all the martyrs. Then we shall 
no longer have the melancholy courage to despise him, 
as we have done heretofore. The mere sight of Jesus 
crucified will make us love, at least out of gratitude, a 
God who died for the love of us ! 

O Son of God, our Redeemer ! give us Thy love. O 
Mary, Mother of God ! pray for us, and obtain for us 
this love. Amen. 

Hymns. 435 

primus. J 

On the Tomb of Alexander the Great. 

BEHOLD the end of all the pomp of earth, 
All human greatness, beauty, noble birth ! 
Worms, rottenness, a little dust, a stone, 
Close the brief scene of life for ev ry one. 
Who gives his heart to God alone is wise, 
Dead to the world already ere he dies. 
O thou that readest this ! thou, too, one day 
Must die; which lot dost thou prefer, I pray, 
To die a slave, and then in bliss to reign, 
Or die a king, and pass to endless pain ? 
Reflect, prepare; the present time flies fast; 
Repentance comes too late when life is past. 

1 We here give four hymns by St. Alphonsus that were recently dis 
covered ; and as the original text is not easily found we quote it in full. 
To these we add the lines that are sung during the missions. ED. 

456 Hymns. 


Eternal Maxims. 

WHY serve the world, thy enemy, 

And from thy thankless heart dethrone 

That God whose love created thee 
To love and serve Himself alone ? 

Slave of a tyrant thou dost live; 

He promises, and breaks his word, 
And for thy service nought can give 

But bitter thorns as thy reward. 

Remember, death will come one day; 

His touch thy fragile life destroys; 
Then, then, alas ! will fade away 

Earth s cheating hopes and empty joys. 

All worldly pleasures then will be 
To thee but weariness and woe; 

The scene of life must close for thee, 
Thy part is played, and thou must go. 

That body thou hast oft caress d 

Such noisome stench shall send around, 

That all will fly the loathsome pest, 
And hide the carrion in the ground. 

Forth flies the spirit from this clay, 
Alone before its God to stand; 

The soul scarce yet has passed away, 
The judge already is at hand. 

Hymns. 437 

Sinner ! sinner ! what wilt thou do, 
Standing before the awful throne? 

In vain for mercy wouldst thou sue, 
Stern Justice triumphs there alone. 

Ah ! miserable, thoughtless one ! 

Say, what excuse thou darest bring- 
Before that gaze of brightest sun, 

The face of thy offended King. 

What horror then the soul shall pierce, 
When, spurned away by heavenly ire, 

Tis hurled into the torment fierce 
Of never, never-ending fire ! 

Then shall be closed upon thy pain 

The gates of hope and liberty; 
Thou seekest death, in vain, in vain; 

It flies and mocks thy misery. 

That moment when this life shall fail, 
Or heaven or hell thy lot must be; 

Eternal joys or endless wail, 
O moment ! O eternity ! 

Think, then, ere yet this life is o er, 
On that whereon thy ALL depends; 


Eternity which never ends ! 

43 8 Hymns. 

Paraphrase on the Words of St. Aloysius. 

Recede a me, Do mine. 
Depart from me, O Lord ! 

(These words St. Aloysius pronounced when he saw himself obliged by obedience 
to withdraw from the Blessed Sacrament.) 

POOR heart, what art thou doing? say; 
Seest not how thy good Master deigns 
To bind thee with love s strongest chains, 

And force thee here within to stay. 

Where, O my soul, where wilt thou flee ? 
How, thus transfixed with love s keen dart. 
Canst thou from thy true life depart, 

Who on that altar stays for thee ? 

But ah ! my God, what meaneth this? 
Thou bindest first with such a chain, 
Then forcest me to go with pain 

Away from Thee, my only bliss. 

Must I then go? Yes, I obey; 

But here my heart shall stay with Thee, 
True to Thy love still may it be: 

I go; then come with me away. 

Alas ! I cannot tear away 

My soul from Thee, its very life; 
I start, I wait in saddest strife; 

I cannot leave, I dare not stay. 

Hymns. 439 

Between the two, in doubts and fears, 

I waver still from side to side; 

While agitated, tost, and tried, 
Love s target my poor heart appears. 

What strife ! what tempest in my will ! 

Obedience bids me haste away; 

Thy love then binds and makes me stay, 
It ravishes and holds me still. 

Thus, when the winds on ocean blow, 

A ship among the billows lost 

By raging storms is fiercely tost, 
And dashed with fury to and fro. 

With sighs and tears I moan and cry; 
Lov d Jesus, in Thy mercy sweet, 
From this rude torment, I entreat 

Ah ! set me free, and let me die. 

In heaven, where love alone doth reign, 
There, dearest Jesus, I shall be, 
Close bound, united, tied to Thee, 

And never part from Thee again. 

Affections to Jesus and to Mary. 

IN this sweet Sacrament, to Thee, 
My God, be ceaseless praise ! 

And to the name of Jesus be 
All love through endless days ! 

44 Hymns. 

And blessed, too, be Mary s womb, 
Which gave to us that Son, 

More pure, more fair than lily-bloom- 
Jesus, the Blessed One. 

Come now, my loving Lord, to me, 
Oh, corne into my heart; 

Inflame it all with love of Thee, 
And never thence depart. 

And let this wretched heart be Thine- 
Yes, Thine, dear God, alone ! 

And, Mary, may this soul of mine 
Henceforth be all thv own ! 


Lines Sung during the Missions. 

LOVE God, who loveth thee, 
For love itself is He ; 
He bids the sinner weep; 
He saith: Poor child, from sin depart; 
Rest thee within thy Father s heart; 

Turn to thy Shepherd, wandering sheep. 

A messenger from God am I, 
Pardon and grace I offer thee; 

Perchance thine hour of death draws nigh: 
For thy soul s sake, ah ! list to me. 

Hymns. 441 

The God of mercy calleth thee; 

Turn not deaf ear and rebel heart: 
If now His call rejected be 

His grace He ll ne er again impart. 

Poor sinful one ! can st thou remain 
In God s disgrace, yet tremble not? 

Depart from sin and pleasures vain 
Ere hell becomes thy dreadful lot. 

Long-suffering is thy Saviour dear, 

But not forever will He wait; 
If suddenly thy death draws near, 

Say, sinner, what shall be thy fate? 

Our Jesus is so sweet, so mild, 

How canst thou turn from Him away? 

Haste, then, with God be reconciled; 
Poor sinner, make no vain delay. 

How canst thou tranquil, joyous dwell; 

Unmindful of eternity ? 
And on the very brink of hell 

Slight ev ry grace God offers thee? 

Ere long thy life must pass away; 

Know st thou the hour when thou shalt die? 
Perchance ere dawns another day 

Thou wilt behold eternity ! 

My son, while yet thou hast the povv r 
Reflect how soon thy life must end 

How on its last sad, solemn hour 
Eternal pains or joys depend. 

44 2 Hymns. 

If thou pursue thy careless way, 
He who is now despis d by thee 

Will meet thee on that dying day 
And thy Eternal Judge will be. 

Then, sinner, wilt thou trembling stand, 

Recalling past iniquity, 
Dreading to fall into His hand 

Who wrathful stands in majesty. 

They who so blindly risk d their all, 
Nor thought on hell s eternal fire, 

Now after death too surely fall 
Into th abyss so dark and dire. 

And when shall hell s sharp pains be o er? 

The insult to God s majesty 
Has been so deep that evermore 

Those pains shall last, eternally. 

Think on that dread eternity 

To which thou art hast ning ever; 

Think of that long futurity 

Of pains that will leave thee never. 

Canzoncine Spirituali. 443 


Sopra la Sepoltura d Alessandro il Grande. 

Ecco dove finisce ogni grandezza, 
Ogni pompa di terra, ogni bellezza: 
Vermi, luto, vil pietra, o poca arena, 
Chiudono al fin d ognun la breve scena. 
Saggio chi, a Dio donando in vita il core, 
Morto si trova al mondo, allorche more ! 
O tu che leggi ! ed ancor tu dovrai 
Morire un di; dimmi, che far vorrai: 
Morir da abietto, ed esser poi beato; 
O morire da grande, e gir dannato ? 
Pensa, e rimedia a tempo, ora che puoi; 
Che tempo allor non vi sarii piu poi ! 


Sopra le Massime Eterne. 

PERCHE al mondo, al tuo nemico, 
Vuoi servire, o tu cor mio ! 
E non servi al tuo buon Dio, 
Che a servirlo ti creo ? 

1 See note, page 435. The first three of these hymns are taken from 
one of the volumes examined during the process of the canonization of 
St. Alphonsus, and the first is mentioned in his Life, 1. i. ch. 3, either by 
Father Tannoia or by Cardinal Villecourt. As to the fourth, it is sung 
in Italy during the visits to the Blessed Sacrament as one of the hymns 
of our saint, and there is no doubt that he is the author. En. 

444 Canzoncine Spiritual^ 

Vivi schiavo d un tiranno 
Che promette, e non attende, 
E, a chi 1 serve, ingrato rende 
Spine e fiele per merce. 

Pens almen che un di la morte 
Dara fine alia tua vita, 
Ed, oime ! per te finita 
Ogni cosa allor sara. 

Tutt i beni allor del mondo 
Ti sarann d affanno e pena, 
In veder che la tua scena 
Gia si chiude ancor per te. 

Questo corpo che tant ami, 
Mandera tanto fetore, 
Ch alia puzza ed all orrore 
.Da te ognuno fuggira, 

Partira da questa terra 
L alma sola, a render conto 
Al gran Giudice, che pronto 
Al suo uscir si trovera. 

Che farai, tu peccatore, 
Giunto innanzi al divin trono, 
Quando allor, non pin perdono, 
Ma giustizia vi sara? 

Infelice, spensierato, 
Va pensando che dirai, 
Quando a vista gia sarai, 
Dell offeso tuo Signer. 

Qual affanno sara poi 
Da quel tron esser cacciato 
E in quel fuoco esser gittato 
Che non mai piu finira ! 

Canzoncine Spiritual^ 445 

Per te allor, d ogni ristoro 
Saran chiuse, oh Dio, le porte ! 
Cercherai per fin la morte, 
E neppur potrai morir ! 

Delia morte al gran momento, 
Avrai dunque o cielo o inferno, 
O riposo o pianto eterno. 
Oh momento ! oh eternita ! 

Mira dunque, finche in vita 
Di tua sorte incerto stai, 
Quel grand Sempre e quel gran Mai, 
Che in eterno durera ! 


Canzoncina di San Luigi Gonzaga. 

Sopra quelle parole: " Recede a me, Domine, recede;" ch egli prof 
fer in doversi partire, per 1 ubbidienza avuta, dalla presenza del 
Santissimo Sacramento. 

Mio povero core, oh Dio, che farai ? 
Non vedi, non senti, che 1 tuo buon Signore, 
Con dolci pur troppo catene d amore, 
Ti stringe, ti forza qui seco a restar ? 

E dove anderai, tu, anima mia? 

Deh ! come tu, stando d amor si ferita, 

Partire potrai lontan dalla Vita, 

Che su quell altare per te se ne sta ? 

Ma lascia ch io parli: Oual tratto e mai questo? 
Tu icco m annodi con tante catene, 
E poi mi costringi, o amato mio Bene ! 
Con duro precetto a partire da te ! 

446 Canzonctne Spirituali. 

Vuoi dunque ch* io parta ? Si, voglio ubbidirti; 
Ma sappi che resta qui teco il mio core: 
Tu, pensa a serbarlo fedele al tuo amore; 
E s io da te parto, tu, vieni con me. 

Ah ! no, che non posso vedermi diviso 
Da te, mio Tesoro, mio Amore, mio Dio ! 
Pertanto la morte sospiro, desio, 

Che teco m unisca per sempre nel ciel. 

Affetti verso Gesu Sacramentato. 

SIA lodato, ogni momento, 
II mio Dio nel Sacramento ! 

Sia per sempre il nome amato 
Di Gesu sacramentato ! 

Benedetto ancora sia 
II bel seno di Maria, 

Che ci diede questo Figlio 
Puro e bello piu che giglio ! 

Vieni, amante mio Signore ! 
Vieni, e infiammami d amore. 

Fa che sia questo cor mio 
Tutto tuo, mio caro Dio ! 

Fa che sia quest alma mia 
Tutta tua, dolce Maria! 

Japan and the Holy See. 447 


Japan anb tljc ijolji 

JUST three hundred years ago a strange embassy ar 
rived in Rome. All the afternoon of March 20, 1585, the 
streets were lined with eager crowds waiting to see the 
entry of the ambassadors into the city. Night was fall 
ing when they arrived four young Japanese nobles, 
their carriages escorted by the cavalry of the Pontifical 
Army, with trumpets sounding and torches blazing be 
fore them. The procession made its way to the Gesu, 
where Claudius Acquaviva, the Father-General of the 
Jesuits, with two hundred of his religious, was waiting 
to welcome the envoys of Japan. They entered the 
church, and there the Te Deutn was sung to thank God 
for having brought them safely to Rome, after a long 
journey of three years, one month, and two days, by 
land and sea and through many storms and perils. 
Then they withdrew to the rooms prepared for them, 
and the crowds dispersed, talking no doubt of their first 
impressions and of the solemn audience in which Greg 
ory XIII. was to receive the ambassadors on the follow 
ing day, while the better informed would tell what they 
had read of Japan in the voyages of travellers or the 
published letters of the missionaries in that far-off land. 

It was said that the newly-arrived embassy repre 
sented three independent kingdoms, ruled by Christian 
kings in the island-empire of the East. Just as nowa 
days there are explorers who call every African chief a 
king, so in the sixteenth century merchants and mis 
sionaries gave the title to the daimios or feudal lords of 

1 From the Month, December, 1885, page 457, volume iv., by 
permission of the Editor. 

44 8 Appendix. 

Japan. The error or exaggeration was not always very 
serious, for in the stormy times that preceded the reign 
of lyeyasu. and the rise of the Tokugawa dynasty, many 
of the daimios were practically independent, even though 
civil wars and frequent revolutions made their position 
a precarious one. The embassy of 1585 represented the 
Christian daimios of Bungo, Arima, and Omura. The 
first of these three princes had more than thirty years 
before received St. Francis Xavier as his guest. The 
ambassadors were four young nobles, whose names a 
combination of the European and the Japanese style 
were Michael Cingina, Mancio Isto, Julian Nacaura, and 
Martin Fara, They had sailed from Nangasaki, in Japan, 
in 1582, and after a delay of nine months at Macao, and 
half a year in India, they had reached Lisbon in August, 
1584, Travelling through Portugal and Spain, they em 
barked at Valencia for Leghorn, and after a brief visit 
to the Grand Duke of Tuscany at Pisa, they had pro 
ceeded to Rome. 

The morning of the 2ist witnessed their solemn entry 
into the city. Early in the day they left the Gesu, and 
went out to a villa outside the Porta del Popolo, where 
the ambassadors of the Catholic powers had assembled 
to accompany them in the state procession through the 
streets of the city. One of the ambassadors, Julian 
Nacaura, had been very ill during the latter part of the 
journey, and at the villa it was evident that he was far 
too weak and fatigued to take his place with the rest in 
the procession. One of the Roman nobles therefore 
took him at once in his carriage to the Vatican, where 
the Pope received him in private audience. This was 
the first meeting between Gregory XIII. and one of his 
Japanese children, and could lie have read the secrets of 
the future, he might, have seen more than chance in the 
circumstances which had thus brought the young noble 
to his feet before his companions. In far-off years, still 

Japan and the Holy See. 449 

known only to God, the palm of martyrdom was waiting 
for Nacaura. 

Meanwhile, the long procession had formed at the 
villa, and came streaming in by the Porta del Popolo, 
between the double hedge of a dense crowd. First to 
the sound of trumpet and kettledrum rode the Papal 
Guard, then came the Swiss troops, next officers of the 
cardinals households, clad in purple, and the foreign 
ambassadors each with a brilliant train; then the Pope s 
chamberlains, and then the three figures that all had 
come to see Cingina, Kara, and Isto. They were dressed 
in the Japanese costume flowing robes of silk, embroid 
ered in gold and colors, with a rich pattern of birds and 
flowers, each wearing the two swords that marked the 
noble and the soldier of Japan. Isto rode first between 
two archbishops, then came Fara and Cingina, each be 
tween two bishops, After them rode Father Mesquita, 
who acted as interpreter, and the procession was closed 
by a long cavalcade of the Roman nobles. 

As they crossed the bridge of St. Angelo the batteries 
of the castle thundered out a salute, to which another 
battery beyond the Vatican replied. Before the palace 
the procession halted, and the three young nobles were 
conducted to the hall of audience, where the Pope 
awaited them, surrounded by cardinals, prelates, and 
princes. As they kissed his feet the aged Pontiff stooped 
down and raised them up, embracing them with tears in 
his eyes, and then, speaking through Mesquita the inter 
preter, they declared that they were come in their own 
names and that of their princes to acknowledge the 
Sovereign Pontiff as the Vicar of the Son of God on 
earth, and to pay him the homage of the Christians of 
Japan. Then they presented the letters with which they 
were charged, and these were read aloud in an Italian 
version. Then all were seated, and Father Gaspar Gon- 
zales, a Portuguese Jesuit, pronounced a Latin dis- 

450 Appendix. 

course, dwelling on the importance of the event which 
they were witnessing, and the high hopes it gave of a 
bright future for the Church in the far East. He dwelt 
especially upon the consolation that was to be found in 
these new conquests of the faith, at a time when so many 
of the old Catholic nations of Europe had revolted 
against the Church, and he not unhappily compared the 
present embassy to the Indian embassy to Rome under 

The city of Rome (he said) heretofore looked upon 
herself as most fortunate, under the empire of Augustus, 
because some people of the Indies, attracted by the fame 
of their noble achievements, sent ambassadors to court 
their alliance and friendship. Whole multitudes of peo 
ple came from all parts of Italy to Rome, to have a sight 
of this new kind of men, of those strange faces till then 
unknown to the Romans, of their carriage and behavior. 
They stared upon them like men come out of another 
world. But if we compare the two embassies together 
we shall find this of the Japanese far more noble, more 
illustrious and glorious. The Indies, I grant, were far 
remote; but how much more Japan, which lies seven 
thousand leagues away, full three years journey from 
Rome. In the reign of Augustus the fame of the Roman 
Empire had reached the Indies, but at the same time 
they had neither felt the weight of its arms nor seen its 
standards displayed. The Hindoos came to court the 
friendship of the Romans, but not to yield them obedi 
ence. They treated with them as their equals, they 
asked their alliance, but they never offered to submit 
themselves to their empire. But what is done here to 
day is of a very different character. Three young princes 
of the blood-royal come to prostrate themselves at the 
feet of your Holiness, not as equals to court your alli 
ance, but as faithful and dutiful subjects to render you 
obedience, hoping only that you will cherish them as 

Japan arid the Holy See. 45 i 

your children. These, who never yet knew what it is to 
yield to foreign powers, have now displayed in their 
states the victorious standard of Jesus Christ, carried 
thither by your Holiness s orders. . . . The Christian 
religion thought that she had made a noble conquest 
when, by the wise conduct of St. Gregory the Great, the 
island of England, divided from all the rest of the 
world, was brought to receive the law of Jesus Christ, 
and submitted to the Roman Church. But if under the 
great Pontiff she had the honor and satisfaction of see 
ing the island subjugated to her obedience, she must 
now weep and lament to see the same so miserably 
separated from the body of the faithful by schism and 
heresy. But behold for her comfort, under the wise and 
prudent government of another Gregory, not one but 
many islands, many kingdoms and nations, situated as it 
were in another world, come this day to receive her laws, 
so that, we may say, our former loss (though infinitely 
great), is now repaired by these new conquests, which 
ought to wipe away our tears and change the mourning 
of the Church into a universal joy." 

Monsignor Bocapaduli having replied in a gracious 
speech on the part of his Holiness, and the princes hav 
ing again kissed his feet, they withdrew into the palace 
with the Pope. They dined with his nephew, the Car 
dinal di San Sisto, and after dinner his Holiness sat 
with them, speaking for a long time with them through 
an interpreter on the state of affairs in Japan. A visit 
to St. Peter s brought the ceremonial of the day to a 

The days that followed were passed in visits to the 
seven churches, audiences given to the Ambassadors of 
Spam, France, and the Republic of Venice, and visits to 
the palaces of cardinals and nobles. In the midst of all 
this, and less than three weeks after the audience at the 
Vatican, Pope Gregory died, one of his last acts being 

45 2 Appendix. 

to send to inquire about the health of Julian Nacaura, 
who was still ailing. The new Pope was Sixtus the 
Fifth. Only two days after his election he gave audi 
ence to the ambassadors, assured them of his good-will, 
and received from them a written memorial on matters 
concerning the church of Japan. They appeared among 
the ambassadors of the Catholic powers on the day of 
his coronation, and the same evening after vespers he 
made them knights, girding them with the sword, and 
placing chains of gold round their necks while the 
ambassadors of France and Spain buckled the golden 
spurs on their heels, and they swore to defend the 
Catholic faith with their lives. Next morning they 
assisted at the Pope s Mass and received Communion 
from his hands. He gave them presents for their 
princes and themselves, renewed and increased the 
grants of money made by his predecessor for the semi 
naries in Japan, gave them a large sum to provide for 
their return journey, and letters calling on all princes 
and governors to do what they could to assist them on 
their way. A few days after they were received in a 
final audience, and bade farewell to the Pope and to 
Rome, which they quitted June 3, 1585. 

They travelled through central Italy, visiting Assisi, 
Loretto, and Bologna. At Venice they were entertained 
as the guests of the Republic, and their portraits were 
painted and hung in the great hall of the palace among 
the portraits of the Doges, where they are still to be 
seen. Then passing by Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Man 
tua, and Milan, feted in every city in which they ap 
peared, they arrived at Genoa, where a fleet of galleys 
was waiting to carry them to Spain. They landed at 
Barcelona on August 13, 1585, and on their way to Por 
tugal they had a farewell audience with King Philip the 
Second. On the 3oth of April in the following year they 
embarked at Lisbon in the fleet for the Indies, taking 

Japan and the Holy See. 453 

with them a reinforcement of seventeen missionaries for 
Japan. They did not reach Goa till the end of May, 
1587, and as the fleet for the far East had already sailed, 
they had to remain there till the April of 1588, when 
they set out for Japan. They did not land there till 
1590, eight years after their first departure for Europe. 

On their return they found that in their absence great 
changes had taken place in Japan. Hideyoshi, better 
known by his title Taicosama, was practically lord of the 
whole land, though he paid a nominal obedience to the 
Mikado. He had defeated in battle many of the daimios, 
and all acknowledged his over-lordship, which he ex 
ercised as a kind of regent for the Mikado. The kings 
of Bungo and Omura had died three years before, in 
1587, and in the same year Taicosama had published an 
edict of banishment against the Jesuits, and had made 
efforts to induce some of the chief Christians to abjure 
their religion. The missionaries hid themselves in the 
domains of the Christian daimios, all of whom, with one 
miserable exception, continued to profess their faith and 
protect their Christian subjects. The one exception was 
Constantine, the son and successor of Francis of Bungo, 
who had the weakness outwardly to conform to the 
edicts and published them in his dominions. Father 
Valignani took advantage of the return of the envoys to 
make an effort to appease Taicosama. It is not unlikely 
that the embassy had indirectly contributed to exas 
perate him against the Europeans, for lyeyasu, one of 
his officers, and later on the founder of a persecuting 
dynasty, represented it to him as having gone to Europe 
to hand over the sovereignty of Japan to the foreigners 
of the West. After much difficulty Valignani succeeded 
in getting permission to come to Meaco as envoy of the 
Governor of the Indies. He appeared at court, accom 
panied by the four Japanese nobles, who laid before 
Taicosama the rich presents sent to Japan by the Pope, 

454 Appendix. 

the King of Spain, and the Governor of the Indies, and 
did homage to him as their lord. He seemed to be much 
pleased with the embassy, the honors paid to him, and 
the costly gifts of which he became the possessor. There 
was a lull in the persecution; for a while the edicts were 
not enforced; but before the year was out the fickle 
tyrant was again urging on his lieutenants the strict exe 
cution of his former proclamations against the Chris 
tians. From that day, although there were intervals of 
peace, the persecution had begun that all but destroyed 
the Church of Japan. 

Mancio Isto succeeded in winning back to the Chris 
tian faith his cousin, Constantine of Bungo. Soon after 
Mancio and his companions resolved to lay down the 
double sword of the noble caste and devote themselves 
to the consolation of the persecuted Christians, and the 
conversion of their heathen brethren. All four entered 
the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. A glorious fate 
was in store for one of them. Long years after, in 1633, 
when the persecution was at its height, and the long 
night of desolation was fast closing in upon the church 
of Japan, Nacaura, then a priest of more than sixty years 
of age, was arrested and conducted to Nangasaki. As he 
was led along the streets he reminded the people that he 
was one of the princes who years ago had gone to Rome, 
and told them he was now glad to die for the faith he 
had then so openly professed before the world. He was 
hung head downwards in the pit, and died after three 
days of agony. Two young Japanese scholastics of the 
Society of Jesus and two European missionaries endured 
the same torments with him, and won the same triumph. 

Until 1643 the Christians of Japan had patiently suf 
fered all that their persecutors chose to inflict upon 
them. But in that year the Christians of Arima, de 
prived of the pastors who had so long preached patience 
to them, and driven to desperation, took up arms and 

Japan and the Holy See. 455 

made a hopeless stand against the armies of the Shogun. 
They threw themselves into the walled town of Shima- 
bara, and held it for several months, till at length some 
Dutch sailors landed with their cannon and breached 
the walls, and the place was taken by storm. Thirty 
thousand Christians perished in the massacre which fol 
lowed; thousands were led to Nangasaki, and flung over 
the cliffs of the Pappenberg into the sea, and an edict 
was published forbidding all foreigners except the Dutch 
to land in Japan. Soon after four merchants from the 
Philippines, who endeavored to penetrate to Meaco as 
ambassadors in order to negotiate a reopening of com 
mercial relations with Japan, were seized and put to 
death, with the greater part of their retinue. The power 
of Spain and Portugal in the far East had fallen so low 
that no attempt was made to exact reparation for this 

Then for more than two hundred years Japan was a 
forbidden land, and it seemed that for once persecution 
had been successful in crushing out Christianity. But 
from time to time there came strange rumors that the 
Japanese Christians, deprived as they were of altars, 
priests, and sacrifice, were still here and there holding 
fast to the faith that had been preached to their fathers 
by St. Francis Xavier, and sealed by the blood of so 
many martyrs. It was known that the persecuting edicts 
were still placarded in town and village why should 
this be if the religion against which they were directed 
were extinct? In 1829 it was reported that several 
Christians had been crucified. So men hoped on, and 
from time to time attempts were made to restore the 
mission in Japan. The first priest who set foot in Japan 
in the present century was the Abbe Forcade of the 
Missions Etrangeres. He was unable to establish himself 
in the country. He returned to France to be raised to 
the archbishopric of Aix, and to lay down his life in help- 

45 6 Appendix. 

ing his cholera-stricken people in this present year 1885. 
The actual rediscovery of the Japanese Christians was 
the work of another missionary of the same Congrega 
tion, the Abbe Petitjean. There is no need to tell again 
in detail the well-known story of how, on March 17, 
1865, some poor women from the interior came to him 
in his church in the treaty port of Nangasaki and told 
him that they were Christians, and that there were many 
like them in the country villages at no great distance, 
Thus the resurrection of the church of Japan began in 
the very town which had seen the greatest number of 
martyrdoms, and in the sanctuary erected to the honor 
of the martyrs of Japan. 

For a while all that could be done was to establish 
European missionaries in the ports that were open to 
foreigners, and send native catechists to help and in 
struct the scattered groups of Christians. But three 
years after the memorable meeting at Nangasaki the 
Japanese revolution came like an earthquake to change 
the whole face of the land. The last of the Shoguns, 
the last ruler of the persecuting Tokugawa race, was de 
posed, and the Mikado, whose dignity had been for three 
centuries a mere name, was brought forth from his re 
tirement, to mount the Imperial throne of Japan, guarded 
by the soldiers and statesmen whose bold counsels and 
ready swords had accomplished the revolution. Change 
rapidly followed change a freer communication with 
foreigners, adoption of their arts and manners, the in 
troduction of machinery, railways, arms of precision, 
and even of European administrative institutions. It 
was fondly hoped that with all this would come the 
proclamation of religious liberty; but almost the first act 
of the new government was to renew the old edicts 
against the " evil sect," i.e., the Christians. The foreign 
ambassadors protested, but for a long time all that they 
could obtain was that the words "evil sect" should be 

Japan and the Holy See. 457 

omitted from the proclamations, as they implied an in 
sult even to the foreign friends of Japan. Nor were the 
edicts allowed to remain unexecuted. Thousands of 
Christians were dragged from their homes and cast into 
loathsome prisons, where many of them died; or they 
were transported to distant parts of Japan, so as to be 
cut off from communication with the missionaries in the 
treaty ports. It was only in 1872 that the ambassadors 
of France and England succeeded in obtaining the re 
lease of the imprisoned Christians. Not until April, 
1873, were the persecuting edicts taken down from the 
notice-boards at the entrance to every village. 

While it thus showed that the old persecuting spirit 
was not extinct in Japan, the new government took 
another reactionary step, in connection with the question 
of the state religion. Since the sixth century there had 
been two religions in Japan the Shinto, or indigenous 
religion, including the worship of the Kamis, local gods 
of wood and mountain, and spirits of ancestors, especially 
the ancestors of the Imperial family; and Buddhism in 
troduced from India, through China and the Corea. 
The two religions existed very peacefully side by side, 
they even mingled with each other, for Buddhism is 
very tolerant, and ever ready to adopt local beliefs and 
customs into its worship. Thus in many temples the 
emblems of the Shinto Kamis appeared beside those of 
Buddhist genii and demi-gods, and the standing com 
plaint of the bonzes against the Christian missionaries 
before the great persecution had been that they despised 
the "Kamis and Fotoquis" (Hotokis),, i.e., the gods of 
both religions. Under the rule of the Tokugawa Sho- 
guns, fro-.i their rise in the beginning of the seventeenth 
century to their downfall in 1868, Buddhism had been in 
the ascendant. But after the revolution all that had been 
specially characteristic of the Shogun rule was viewed 
with disfavor, and while the Mikado s Government 

45 8 Appendix. 

eagerly adopted European inventions and institutions, 
in the matter of religion it proclaimed its adhesion to 
the old indigenous worship, and ordered the Buddhist 
bonzes to give up to the Shinto priests several temples 
that had at some time belonged to them, or stood on a 
site once devoted to the Shinto worship. In more than 
one instance the bonzes, to save their temples from 
Shinto profanation, set them on fire, and in this way they 
destroyed some of the great temples founded by Taico- 
sama and lyeyasu. The Shinto worship became the 
state religion to the exclusion of Buddhism, but the 
latter worship was tolerated on condition that the bonzes 
acknowledged that they held their temples that were 
left to them by the good-will of the state, and took an 
oath of loyalty to the Mikado. In many of the provinces 
this toleration was a simple necessity, for the Buddhist 
bonzes were so numerous and powerful that the gov 
ernment could not afford to begin a quarrel with them. 

Meanwhile the new persecution of the Christians had 
come to an end. It had not diminished their numbers 
except by death, for it had proved as difficult to force 
them to apostatize as it had been in the great persecu 
tion centuries before. The Catholic mission came out 
into the light of day, and set to work to reorganize what 
was left of the old Church of Japan. Unfortunately the 
Japanese learned from Englishmen, Americans, and 
Russians what they had learned from the Dutch in the 
seventeenth century, that all Christians did not teach 
the same doctrine. English Episcopalians, American 
Methodists, and Russian schismatics came to set up their 
rival banners, and sought to wrest from the Church some 
part of her hard-won inheritance in Japan. With these, 
too, came professors of European arts and sciences for 
the university established by the new government, and 
they brought with them not a few standard works of the 
agnostic and sceptical schools of thought, works which 

Japan and the Holy See. 459 

are now only too popular in a Japanese version among 
the learned classes. But even though European and 
American unbelief was thus represented in Japan, this 
could not disguise the fact that Europe and America, 
whose civilization Japan was striving so hard to imitate, 
were the home of Christian peoples, and professed that 
their civilization itself was in a large measure the fruits 
of Christianity. Very soon after the revolution of 1868 
Japanese thinkers began to ask openly why their coun 
try should not, as a mere matter of policy, adopt the 
European religion as well as European arts and learning. 
On the other hand, the printing-presses poured out a 
shower of pamphlets against the Western faith in all its 
forms, and Japanese lecturers declaimed against it, re 
newing many of the old calumnies of the days of perse 
cution. In some places native Christians were attacked 
and stoned by mobs led by these champions of the two 
religions of Japan. The government in no way encour 
aged these outrages. Its policy for many years had been 
one of toleration, even though religious liberty was not 
formally proclaimed. In the summer of last year (1884) 
it took a very important step, probably induced by the 
growing discredit into which Shintoism was falling as 
an official religion, and the discontent of the chiefs of 
Buddhism at the favors exclusively accorded to their 
rivals. It published a decree by which the government, 
as such, dissolved its connection with the Shinto religious 
bodies, and authorized all the Japanese sects, whether 
Buddhist, Shintoist, or a combination of the two, to 
freely govern themselves and administer their own affairs 
through a chief chosen by each out of their members, 
and approved by the Minister of the Interior. Although 
by this act the Shinto ceased to be the official reli 
gion of Japan, it continues to be, especially through its 
connection with ancestor worship, the religion of the 
sovereign, the Mikado. Many state officials are bound 

460 Appendix. 

by their rank to accompany him in his public acts of 
worship, and this still gives the religion of the Kamis 
not a little influence as a public institution in Japan. 

But at the same time it is so much a religion of mere 
ceremony, that the real fight with Christianity remains in 
the hands of Buddhism; and now Japanese writers them 
selves are beginning publicly to acknowledge that sooner 
or later Buddhism must give way to its antagonist, and 
the cry for the adoption of Christianity as a political 
measure is being renewed. The editor of the Missions 
Catholiques of Lyons published some time ago long ex 
tracts from articles translated from the native press of 
Japan. They are so remarkable that we shall reproduce 
portions of them here. 

We have first a long article from the Ji-ji-chim-p6, a 
journal which had formerly opposed Christianity, as 
likely to be the source of internal troubles in Japan. 
The article begins by pointing out that the acknowl 
edged superiority of the nations of Europe and America 
is the result, not only of their political institutions, but 
also of their religion. That with Europeans there is 
always a prejudice against non-Christian peoples, that 
such peoples are never really admitted as equals in the 
commonwealth of nations, and shares in the benefits of 
a recognized code of international law. All this points 
to the probability that Japan would gain a better posi 
tion among the nations by the adoption of Christianity, 
and from this point of view the writer urges the gov 
ernment to facilitate the introduction of Christianity as 
the national religion. He goes on to say: 

"As we have already pointed out, the influence of 
Christianity makes itself felt in all the relations of the 
peoples of the West with each other. It was Christianity 
that established equality amongst men, and abolished 
slavery a thing never dreamed of even by the greatest 
philosophers of Greece and Rome. European legisla- 

Japan and the Holy See. 46 1 

tion is also imbued with principles drawn from Chris 
tianity. No doubt our ancient laws, based as they are 
on the doctrines of Buddha and Confucius, do not differ 
very greatly in their principles from those of Europe. 
But for all that it is none the less true, that in prohibit 
ing Christianity we keep ourselves separated from the 
European nations. Besides, even if we do refuse free 
dom to Christianity, that will not prevent its spreading 
in Japan. It would be wiser, then, openly to grant its 
freedom, and thus make its propagation lawful. To us 
it appears evident, that things being what they are, 
Christianity must succeed in Japan, and Buddhism must 
disappear. We do not mean that Japan will immediately 
become a part of Christendom, but the victory of Chris 
tianity is only a matter of time, and it will come without 

He then points out that Christianity has the material 
elements of success on its side alms freely given by 
its professors in far-off lands to maintain teachers in 
Japan, while the teachers themselves are well educated, 
able, and zealous men. On the other hand, he says the 
Buddhists, as a rule, content themselves with keeping 
the existing temples open, and their teachers are badly 
educated, and intellectually inferior to the Europeans. 

Another paper, the Hon-tchi-chim-boun, writes as fol 

"The tendency towards Christianity becomes more 
marked every day, and is causing some alarm in the 
Buddhist camp; priests and people are alike in consider 
able anxiety, and they are holding meetings to devise 
the means of preventing the spread of Christianity. In 
various places disturbances have been caused by the 
partisans of Buddhism, but it is not yet known who has 
instigated them. It is supposed that it is the bonzes; 
but it is a very mistaken policy for them to adopt. In 
stead of acting in this way, they should try to bring out 

462 Appendix. 

what is good in Buddhism. They have not done so yet, 
and theirconduct has brought discredit on their religion. 
But instead of dwelling on these puerile proceedings, 
which hardly deserve our attention, it seems to us more 
interesting to make some remarks on the future of re 
ligion in Japan. We have already stated our opinion 
that politics and religion must be separated. -We there 
fore hail with satisfaction the current report that the 
government is on the point of abolishing the official 
clergy, and giving up to the chief of each sect the 
management of its religious affairs. Although we have 
but scanty information on the subject, we believe that 
it is well founded, and that we shall soon witness the 
realization of what we have so long desired. A step in 
advance in this direction would be the freedom of 
funerals, that is, the right of having recourse to any 
minister of religion in such cases, without being obliged 
by the law, as heretofore, to go either to Buddhist or to 
Shintoist priests." 

These articles were written in the latter part of 1884, 
before the Mikado s Government published its decree of 
disestablishment. It is of course evident that both 
writers are not very zealous either for Christianity or the 
old religions of Japan, They look at the religious ques 
tion merely from the politician s point of view. One of 
them admits the advance made by Christianity, talks 
slightingly of the Buddhists, and calls for complete free 
dom of worship. The other goes farther: he hopes to 
see Christianity the religion of Japan, with a view to 
placing her on an equality with the nations of the West, 
and he confidently predicts the victory of Christianity 
over Buddhism. 

Writings like these, which would not be published if 
they did not echo the opinions of a considerable section 
of the people, show that Japan is passing through a 
serious religious crisis, and that matters have gone very 

Japan and the Holy See. 463 

far since the publication of the Shinto proclamations and 
the renewal of the edicts of persecution in 1868. And 
the past month has brought us news which shows that 
the Holy See recognizes the importance of the crisis, and 
is taking advantage of the change in public opinion to 
forward the interests of the Church in Japan. An article 
in the Osservatore Romano, and a letter from the Abbe 
Midon, the pro-vicar apostolic for Northern Japan, pub 
lished in the Missions Catholiqiies, gives an account of the 
public reception by the Mikado of an envoy charged 
with letters from the Sovereign Pontiff to the ruler of 
Japan. On Saturday, the i2th of September, by previous 
arrangement with the Japanese Government, Monsignor 
Osouf, titular Bishop of Arsinoe, and Vicar Apostolic of 
Northern Japan, was conveyed in one of the Mikado s 
state-carriages to the palace of Tokio. He was accom 
panied by the French ambassador and two of the mis 
sionaries. Arrived at the palace, he was received by the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs, the chief of the emperor s 
household, and several other officials, including the chief 
interpreter of the court. After an exchange of saluta 
tions and some friendly conversation, Monsignor Osouf 
and his companions were admitted to the hall of audi 
ence. The Mikado received them standing, dressed in a 
general s uniform, of European fashion. The last time 
a European missionary came as an ambassador to a 
ruler of Japan was nearly three hundred years ago, when 
Valignani and the four Japanese ambassadors of Arima, 
Bungo, and Omura, sought to appease the fury of the 
persecutor Taicosama. What a change between now and 
then! The race of the persecutors is gone, the Church 
of Japan still lives. It has had its second spring, and 
one of its prelates is received in friendly audience by the 
ruler of New Japan. 

Count Inouye, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, having 
introduced Monsignor Osouf to the Mikado, the prelate 

464 Appendix. 

addressed to him a short speecq, in which he said that 
the Sovereign Pontiff, Leo the Thirteenth, having heard 
of the great progress accomplished in Japan under the 
rule of the present emperor, desired to place himself on 
the same terms of diplomatic intercourse with him which 
already existed between the Holy See and the other 
great powers. He had therefore resolved to address to 
his Majesty a letter, which would express his apprecia 
tion of the noble aspirations of the government of Japan, 
and his personal regard for its sovereign. The Holy 
Father, for this end, had summoned the speaker to 
Rome, and confided to him the letter which now, thanks 
to the friendly introduction of the French ambassador, 
he was able to present in person. At the same time he 
asked leave to express on his own part his homage to his 
majesty, and his good wishes for his welfare and that of 
the people of Japan. 

With these words he handed to the emperor the letter 
of Leo the Thirteenth, which was inclosed in an envelope 
of white silk, embroidered with the Pontifical arms, and 
tied with a cord of gold thread. The emperor glanced 
at it, and handed it to an officer who stood by, and then 
read in Japanese his own reply to the speech of Mgr. 
Osouf. The chief interpreter translated it into very 
good French. The Mikado began by saying that he felt 
himself greatly honored by this friendly act of the Sove 
reign Pontiff. He begged Mgr. Osouf to thank the Pope 
on his behalf. He wished, he said, to advance on the 
path of progress, and he would give to Christian subjects 
the same protection that was enjoyed by all the rest. 

Mgr. Osouf withdrew after presenting his companions 
to the Mikado. Arrived in the antechamber, tea was 
brought, a necessary part of a visit in Japan, and 
Inouye, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told Mgr. Osouf 
that the Government was exceedingly pleased to estab 
lish friendly relations with the Holy See, and that a 

Japan and the Holy See. 465 

special envoy of high rank would be sent to Rome, to 
convey to Leo the Thirteenth the Mikado s reply to his 

Thus Rome is to witness the arrival of another Japa 
nese embassy to the Sovereign Pontiff. There is, of 
course, an enormous difference between i 585 and 1885. 
The envoy despatched from Tokio will probably not be 
a Christian; he will not come to do homage to Leo 
the Thirteenth as his spiritual father, but he will come 
to give him a solemn assurance of what the four Japa 
nese ambassadors could not promise to Gregory the 
Thirteenth freedom for the faith to be preached through 
all Japan, wherever the people are willing to listen to it. 
He will represent not feudal princes of this or that dis 
trict, but a firmly established government ruling over 
the whole of the island empire a government not likely 
to be overturned by a revolution, and certain not to re 
tract the promise of freedom of worship which it has 
made by the mouth of the sovereign and of his minis 
ters. This is the significance of these new relations be 
tween Japan and the Holy See. 

Moreover, the step which Leo the Thirteenth has 
taken will remove many causes of future difficulty and 
danger. Valuable as is the protection of the Catholic 
powers in the East, it is always open to the serious 
drawback that non-Christian rulers are apt to suspect 
those who have recourse to such protection of political 
designs against their own government. No such sus 
picion can attach to the communication carried on 
through the accredited envoys of the Holy See, whose 
objects can only be religious, and whose policy can have 
nothing to do with schemes of territorial aggrandize 
ment in Asia. There is no doubt, too, that the recep 
tion of a Catholic prelate by the Mikado, and the de 
spatch of a Japanese envoy to the Head of the Catholic 
Church will raise the position of Catholics in public 

466 Appendix. 

estimation in every town in Japan where a Catholic con 
gregation is to be found. With the esteem that is felt 
in Japan for English and American science and letters, 
there is danger of Anglicanism or Methodism being 
taken as the type of Christianity. All the more reason, 
then, to rejoice at what has been accomplished, as a 
means of turning the thoughts of Japanese statesmen, 
students, and journalists to Rome as the centre of that 
world-wide Christendom to which the people of Europe 
and America owe all that is best and noblest in their 
culture, their manners, and their laws. 

The Church of Japan is again a living reality, with its 
bishops, churches, and seminaries, its European mission 
aries, its native clergy, and its thousands of the faithful 
sons of the martyrs. All that it needs is freedom to do 
its work and enlarge its boundaries. This freedom is 
now assured to it by the zeal of Leo the Thirteenth, and 
the good-will of the Mikado and his government. 



January. PAGE 

3. St. Gordius, centurion 167 

12. St. Arcadius 121 

20. St. Sebastian, officer 270 

21. St. Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona; SS. Augurius and 

Eulogius, deacons 175 

St. Agnes, virgin 189 

22. St. Vincent, deacon 57 

26. St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna 66 

27. St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople 134 


I. St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. ... 49 

St. Pionius, priest 141 

3. St. Blase, bishop of Sebaste 250 

4. SS. Phile as, bishop of Thmuis, and Philoromus, tribune. ... 112 

5. St. Agatha, virgin 131 

18. St. Leo of Patara 204 

24. SS. Lucius, Montanus, and their companions . 197 


7. SS. Perpetua and Felicitas of Carthage, with SS. Revocatus, 

Saturninus, Secundulus, and Saturus 232 

12. St. Peter of Nicomedia, chamberlain 261 

22. St. Basil of Ancyra, priest 207 

25. St. Irenaeus, bishop of Sirmium .... 178 

468 Table of the Holy Martyrs. 

April. PAGE 

2. St. Appian 164 

8. St. yEdesius, brother of St. Appian 164 

13. St. Justin, the philosopher, and companions 123 

14. SS. Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus 182 

21. St. Simon, archbishop of Seleucia; SS. Usthazades and Pusi- 

kius, and their companions ..... 193 

22. SS. Epipodius and Alexander of Lyons 200 

23. St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague 145 

23. St. Vitalis of Ravenna 64 

St. Theodora, virgin, and St. Didymus ... 70 

St. Pollio, lector 163 

30. SS. James, deacon; Marianus, lector; and companions 148 


3. St. Timothy, lector, and St. Maura, his wife 263 

15. St. Peter of Lampsacus 219 

St. Dionysia, virgin; SS. Andrew and Paul of Lampsacus. . . 116 

18. St. Theodotus, vintner. . 92 

29. St. Cyril, the child 219 


2. SS. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons; Sanctus, deacon; Alexander, 
physician; Vettius Epagathus, Maturus, Attalus of 
Pergamus; Biblis, Blandina, and their companions. .. 213 

4. St. Quirinus, bishop of Siscia 247 

16. St. Julitta, widow, and St. Quiricus, her son 54 

17. SS. Nicander and Marcian, soldiers 223 

22. St. Alban , , , 217 

25. St. Febronia, virgin 118 

St. Gallican, general 226 

26. SS. John and Paul, officers 226 

30. St. Basilides, soldier 221 


21. St. Victor, officer; Alexander, Felicianus, and Longinus, sol 
diers of Marseilles , 257 

27. SS. George, deacon; Aurelius, Natalia, Felix, Liliosa of 

Corduba , 236 

SS. Hermolaus, priest, and Pantaleon, physician 308 

Table of the Holy Martyrs. 469 

AugUSt. I AGE 

5. St. Afra, the penitent 82 

6. St. Sixtus II., pope . 265 

8. SS. Cyriacus, deacon; Largus and Smaragdus 272 

9. St. Romanus, soldier . 265 

10. St. Laurence, deacon 265 

12. St. Euplius, deacon 90 

13. St. Hippolytus, priest 293 

17. St. Mammas 275 

SS Liberatus, abbot; Boniface, deacon; Servus, Rusticus, 

subdeacons; Rogatus, Septimus, and Maximus, re 
ligious 301 

21. SS. Bonosius and Maximilian, officers. . 298 

25. St. Genesius, comedian. . 291 

29. St. Seraphia, virgin 303 

31. SS. Theodotus; Rufina, his mother; and Amya 275 


3. St. Sabina, widow 303 

9. SS. Dorotheus and Gorgonius, chamberlains 261 

19. SS. Januarius, bishop of Benevento; Socius, Proculus, Festus, 

deacons; Didier, lector; Eutychius, Acutius 280 

26. SS. Cyprian, magician; and Justina, virgin 306 


6. St. Faith, virgin 288 

11. SS. Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus 240 

12. St. Felix, bishop of Abbir, and his companions 311 

20. SS. Caprais, Primus, and Felician of Agen 288 

22. SS. Philip, bishop of Heraclea; Severus and Hermes 74 

28. SS. Anastasia and Cyril of Rome 254 


4. SS. Agricola and Vitalis of Bologna 62 

9. St. Theodore of Amasea 229 

10. SS. Trypho and Respicius 97 

12. St. Theodorus of Studius, abbot 156 

18. SS. Romanus, deacon, and Barulas, infant 100 

22. St. Cecilia, virgin 182 

24. St. Chrysogonus, priest 169 

27. St. James, surnamed Intercisus So 

470 Table of the Holy Martyrs. 

December. I>AGE 

5. St. Crispina IO 5 

6. SS. Dionysia; Majoricus, her son; and their companions 108 

10. SS. Eulalia and Julia, virgins . 160 

13. St. Lucy, virgin I52 

25. St. Anastasia, widow !5o 

30. St. Sabinus, bishop of Spoleto, and his companions 87 



N.B. For several saints, the year of their victory, not being precisely known, is 
given approximately; for some only the century is given. 

Second Century. 


107. St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, at Rome, December 20. ... 49 
125. St. Seraphia, virgin. August 29; and St. Sabina, widow, 

September 3 303 

166. St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, January 16 66 

167. St. Justin the philosopher, and his companions, April 13. . . 123 
171. St. Vitalis of Ravenna, April 27 64 

177. SS. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons; Sanctus, deacon; Alex 

ander, physician; Vettius Epagathus, Maturus, Attalus 
of Pergamus, Bitlis, Blandina. and their companions. 
June 2 213 

178. SS. Epipodius and Alexander of Lyons, April 22 200 

180. St. Symphorian of Autun, August 22 296 

Third Century. 

St. Arcadius, January 12 121 

St. Gordius, centurion, January 3 167 

St. Leo of Patara, February 18 204 

203. SS. Perpetua and Felicitas of Carthage, with SS. Revocatus, 

Saturninus, Secundulus, and Saturus, March 7 232 

210. SS. Potamiena, virgin, June 28; Marcella, her mother, and 

Basilides, soldier, June 30 221 

232. SS. Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, with St. Cecilia, 

virgin, November 22 182 

250. St. Pionius, priest, February i 141 

SS. Lucius, Montanus, Flavian, and their companions, 

February 24 ... 197 

St. Peter of Lampsacus, May 15 219 

472 Chronological Table. 


St. Dionysia, virgin, Andrew and Paul of Lampsacus, May 15 116 

St. Cyril, child, May 29 , . . . 219 

St. Hippolytus, priest, August 13 293 

SS. Theodotus and Rufinus, parents of St. Mammas, 

August 31 275 

251. St. Agatha, virgin, February 5 131 

SS. Trypho and Respicius, November 10. . . 97 

258. SS. Sixtus II., Pope, August 6, and Romanus, soldier, 

August 9, with St. Laurence, deacon, August 10. . . , .... 265 

259. SS. Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona, Augurius and Eulo- 

gius, deacons, January 21 175 

SS. James, deacon; Marianus, lector; and their companions, 

April 30 , . . . 148 

SS. Anastasia, virgin, and Cyril of Rome 254 

275 St. Mammas, August 17 275 

286. St. Genesius, comedian, August 25 , 291 

287. SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, June 18. 270 

288. St. Sebastian, officer, January 20 . 270 

290. SS. Victor, officer; Alexander, Felicianus, Longinus, sol 
diers, of Marseilles, July 21 257 

SS. Faith, virgin, October 6; Caprais, Primus, and Felician, 
October 20.. . . 288 

Fourth Century. 

303. St. Vincent, deacon, January 22 57 

SS. Perpetua and Felicitas of Carthage, with SS. Revo- 

catus, Saturninus, Secundulus, and Saturus, March 7 .... 232 

SS. Cyriacus, deacon, Largus and Smaragdus, March 16... 272 

St. Theodotus, vintner, May 18. 92 

SS. Nicander and Marcian, soldiers, June 17 , . 223 

St. Alban, June 22. . 217 

SS. Hermolaus, priest, and Pantaleon, physician, July 27.. 308 
SS. Romanus, deacon, and Barulas, infant martyr, Novem 
ber 17 100 

St. Chrysogonus, priest, November 24 169 

St. Lucy, virgin, December 13 152 

304. St. Agnes, virgin, January 21 189 

St. Peter, chamberlain, March 12 , . . . 261 

St. Irenaeus, bishop of Sirmium, March 25 178 

SS. Theodora, virgin, and Didymus, April 28 70 

Chronological Table. 473 


St. Pollio. lector, April 28 163 

SS. Julitta, widow, and Quiricus, her son, June 16 54 

St. Febronia, virgin, June 25 118 

St. Afra, penitent, August 5 82 

St. Euplius, deacon, August 12 90 

SS. Dorotheus and Gorgonius, chamberlains, September 9. 261 

SS. Cyprian, magician, and Justina, virgin, September 26. . 306 

SS. Taracus, Probus, and Andronicus, October n 240 

SS Philip, bishop of Heraclea; Severus, priest; and Hermes, 

deacon, October 22 74 

SS. Agricola and Vitalis of Bologna, November 4 62 

St. Crispina, December 5 106 

SS. Eulalia and Julia, virgins, December 10 160 

St. Anastasia, widow, December 25 169 

St. Sabinus, bishop of Spoleto, and his companions, Decem 
ber 30 87 

305. SS. Januarius, bishop of Benevento, Sosius, Proculus, and 

Festus, deacons; Didier, lector; Eutychius, Acutius, 

September 19 280 

306. SS. Phileas, bishop of Thmuis, and Philoromus, tribune, 

February 4 112 

SS. Appian, April 2, and yEdesius, April 8 164 

St. Theodore of Amasea, November 9 229 

SS. Timothy, lector, and Maura, his wife, December 19. ... 263 

316. St. Blase, bishop of Sebaste, February 3 250 

344. SS. Simeon, archbishop of Seleucia, Usthazades and Per- 

sikius, and their companions, April 21 193 

362. St. Basil of Ancyra, priest, June 28 207 

363. SS. Bonosius and Maximilian, officers, August 21 298 

Fifth Century. 

407. SS. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, Septem 
ber 4; Tigrius, priest, and Eutropius, lector, January 12.. 134 
420. St. James, surnamed Intercisus, November 27 So 

483. SS. Liberatus, abbot; Boniface, deacon; Servus, Rusticus, 

subdeacons; Rogatus, Septimus, and Maximus, religious, 

August 17 301 

484. St. Felix of Abbir, and "his companions, October 12 311 

SS. Dionysia, Majoricus, her son, and their companions, 

December 6 and 16 . 108 

474 Chronological Table. 

Ninth Century. 


826. St. Theodore of Studius, abbot, November n. J5 6 

852. SS. George, deacon; Aurelius, Natalia, Felix, Liliosa of 

Corduba, July 17 236 

868. St. Nicolas of Studius, abbot, February 4 I5 6 

Tenth Century. 
997- St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague, April 23 145 




St. Acutius, with St. Januarius 280 

St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague 145 

$t. Afra, penitent 82 

St. Agatha, virgin 131 

St. Agnes, virgin 189 

St. Agricola of Bologna 62 

St. Alban 217 

St. Alexander of Lyons, with St. Epipodius 200 

St. Alexander, physician, with St. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons.. . . 213 

St. Alexander, soldier, with St. Victor of Marseilles 257 

St. Amya, with St. Mammas 275 

St. Anastasia, virgin 254 

St. Andrew of Lampsacus 1 16 

St. Andronicus, with St. Tarachus 240 

St. Appian 164 

St. Attalus of Pergamus, with St. Pothinus 213 

St. Augurius, deacon, with St. Fructuosus 175 

St. Aurelius of Corduba, with St. Natalia, his wife 236 


St. Barulas, infant martyr, with St. Romanus 100 

St. Basil of Ancyra, priest 207 

St. Basilides, soldier, with St. Potamiena 221 

St. Biblis, with St. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons 213 

St. Blaise, bishop of Sebaste 250 

St. Blandina, with St. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons 213 

St. Boniface, deacon, with St. Liberatus, abbot 301 

St. Bonosius, officer, with St. Maximilian 298 


St. Caprais, with St. Faith, virgin 288 

St. Cecilia, virgin 182 

St. Chrysogonus, priest, with St. Anastasia, widow 169 

St. Crispina 106 

St. Cyprian, magician, with St. Justina, virgin 306 

476 A Iphabetica I Index. 


St. Cyriacus, deacon 272 

St. Cyril of Rome, with St. Anastasia, virgin 254 

St. Cyril, child 219 


St. Dionysia, virgin, of Lampsacus. 116 

St. Dionysia, with St. Majoricus, her son 108 

St. Didier, lector, with St. Januarius 280 

St. Didymus, with St. Theodora, virgin 70 

St. Dorotheus, chamberlain, with St. Gorgonius 261 


St. Edesius, with St. Appian 164 

St. Epipodius, with St. Alexander of Lyons 200 

St. Eulalia, virgin 160 

St Eulogius, deacon, with St. Fructuosus 175 

St. Euplius, deacon 90 

St. Eutropius, lector, with St. John Chrysostom 134 

St. Eutychius, with St. Jan uarius 280 


St. Febronia, virgin 121 

St. Felicianus, soldier, with- St. Victor of Marseilles 257 

St. Felician, with St. Faith, virgin 288 

St. Felicitas of Carthage, with St. Perpetua 232 

St. Felix, bishop of Abbir 311 

St. Felix of Corduba, with St. Liliosa, his wife 236 

St. Festus, deacon, with St. Januarius 280 

St. Flavian, with St. Lucius 197 

St. Faith, virgin of Agen 288 

St. Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona 175 


St. Gallican, Roman general, with SS. John and Paul 226 

St. Genesius, comedian , 291 

St. George, deacon 236 

St. Gordius, centurion 167 

St. Gorgonius, chamberlain, with St. Dorotheus 261 


St, Hermes, deacon, with St. Philip, bishop of Heraclea 74 

St. Hermolaus, priest, with St. Pantaleon 308 

St. Hippolytus, priest 293 

A Iphabetical Index. 477 



St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch 49 

St. Iraenaus, bishop of Sirmium 178 


St. James, deacon, with St. Marianus 152 

St. James, surnamed Intercisus So 

St. Januarius, bishop of Benevento 280 

St. John, officer, with St. Paul, his brother 226 

St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople 134 

St. Julia, virgin, with St. Eulalia i6<3 

St. Julitta with St. Quiricus, her son 54 

St. Justin, philosopher 123 

St. Justina, virgin, with St. Cyprian. 306 


St. Largus, with St. Cyriacus 272 

St. Laurence, deacon, with St. Sixtus II., Pope 265 

St. Leo of Patara 2cu 

St. Liberatus, abbot, with his companions 301 

St. Liliosa, with St. Felix of Corduba, her husband 236 

St. Longinus, soldier, with St. Victor of Marseilles 257 

St. Lucy, virgin 152 

St. Lucius, with SS. Montanus and Flavian 197 


St. Majoricus, with St. Dionysia, his mother , 108 

St. Mammas 275 

St. Marcus, with St. Marcellianus, his brother 270 

St. Marcella, with St. Potamiena, her daughter 221 

St. Marcellianus, with St. Marcus, his brother 270 

St. Marcian, soldier, with St. Nicander 223 

St. Marianus, lector, with St. James, deacon 148 

St. Maturus, with St. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons 213 

St. Maura, with St. Timothy, her husband 263 

St. Maximus, with St. Cecilia 182 

St. Maximus, religious, with St. Liberatus 301 

St. Maximilian, officer, with St. Bonosius 298 


St. Natalia, with St. Aurelius, her husband 236 

St. Nicander, soldier, with St. Marcian 223 

St. Nicholas of Studius, with St. Theodore 156 

4 7 8 A Ipkabetical Index. 



St. Pantaleon, physician, with St. Hermolaus 308 

St. Paul of Lampsacus, with St. Andrew 116 

St. Paul, officer, with St. John, his brother 226 

St. Perpetua, with St. Felicitas of Carthage 232 

St. Phileas, bishop of Thmuis 112 

St. Philip, bishop of Theraclea 74 

St. Philoromus, tribune, with St. Phileas 112 

St. Peter of Lampsacus 219 

St. Peter, chamberlain 261 

St. Pionius, priest 141 

St. Pollio, lector 163 

St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna 66 

St. Potamiena, virgin 221 

St. Pothinus, bishop of Lyons 213 

St. Primus, with St. Faith 288 

St. Probus, with St. Tarachus 240 

St. Proclus, deacon, with St. Januarius 280 

St. Pusikius, with St. Simeon , 193 


St. Quiricus, with St. Julitta, his mother 54 

St. Quirinus, bishop of Siscia 247 


St. Respicius, with St. Trypho 97 

St. Revocatus, with SS. Felicitas of Carthage 232 

St. Rogatus, religious, with St. Liberatus, abbot 301 

St. Romanus, deacon 100 

St. Romanus, soldier, with St. Laurence 265 

St. Rufina, mother of St. Mammas 275 

St. Rusticus, subdeacon, with St. Liberatus 301 


St. Sabinus, bishop of Spoleto 87 

St. Sabina, widow, with St. Seraphia 303 

St. Sanctus, deacon, with St. Pothinus 213 

St. Saturus, with St. Perpetua 232 

St. Saturninus, with St. Perpetua 232 

St Sebastian, officer 270 

St. Secundulus, with St. Perpetua 232 

Alphabetical Index. 479 


St. Septimus, religious, with St. Liberatus 301 

St. Seraphia, virgin 303 

St. Servus, subdeacon. with St. Liberatus 301 

St. Simeon, archbishop of Seleucia 193 

St. Sixtus II., Pope 265 

St. Smaragdus, with St. Cyriacus 272 

St. Sosius, deacon, with St. Januarius 280 

St. Symphorian , 296 


St. Tarachus, with SS. Probus and Andronicus 240 

St. Theodora, virgin, with St. Didymus 70 

St. Theodore of Amasea 229 

St. Theodore of Studius, abbot 156 

St. Theodotus, vintner . 92 

St. Theodotus, father of St. Mammas 275 

St. Tiburtius, brother-in-law of St. Cecilia 182 

St. Tygrius, priest, with St. John Chrysostom 134 

St. Timothy, lector 263 

St. Usthazades, chamberlain, with St. Simeon. . 193 


St. Valerian, husband of St. Cecilia 182 

St. Vettius Epagathus, with St. Pothinus. . 213 

St. Victor, officer 257 

St. Vincent, deacon 57 

St. Vitalis of Bologna 62 

St. Vitalis of Ravenna 64 

Liguorj , A.M. 

Complete ascetical works 

A3 ,